Loneliness – two sides to the story: adolescents’ lived experiences

Jessica Hemberg*, Yulia Korzhina, Henrik Groundstroem, Lillemor Östman, Lisbet Nyström, Pia Nyman-Kurkiala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)


Loneliness in adolescents is related to common mental health issues, and as a major global concern it is important to investigate loneliness from their own perspectives. The aim of this study was to explore how adolescents experience and describe negative and positive sides of loneliness. Data was collected through interviews with fifteen young Swedish-speaking Finns. Two main themes and seven subthemes were found. Negative experiences of involuntary loneliness were stressful and paralyzing giving rise to physical symptoms, emptiness, anxiety, fear and invisibility. Other negative experiences resulting from involuntary loneliness were shame, self-blame and self-contempt, as well as meaninglessness, hopelessness and exclusion. Positive experiences from self-chosen solitude were freedom, calmness and recovery, creativity and meaningfulness as well as reflection, recharging and personal growth.

Keywords: adolescents, interview, lived experiences, loneliness
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-56
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescence and Youth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • adolescents
  • interview
  • lived experiences
  • loneliness


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