Experiential correlates of time alone in adolescence

Reed Larson, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Seven hundred and fifty‐three observations were collected on 25 adolescents at random times during an average week. The observations consisted of self‐reports completed in response to an electronic pager. The study was aimed at the question: What is the experience of time alone like for adolescents? The results suggest a complex but consistent relationship: while aloneness is generally a negative experience, those adolescents who spend a moderate amount of time alone (about 30 percent of their waking time) tend to show better overall adjustment than adolescents who are either never alone or spend more than the optimal proportion of time alone. Alienation and average moods showed inverse linear or quadratic relationships with amount of time alone. These results are discussed in terms of the possible psycho‐social functions of aloneness at the adolescent stage of the life cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-693
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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