Master of Science
Gloria M. Francis
This descriptive study explored loneliness among pregnant adolescents in a southeastern metropolitan area. Numerous psychosocial variables of the special population of pregnant teens remain to be studied. One such variable is loneliness, a feeling often experienced by adolescents. The present study hypothesized that loneliness may occur during adolescent pregnancy. To date, one study exists (Diiorio & Riley, 1988) of loneliness and adolescent pregnancy.
The problem statement was: Does loneliness exist among pregnant adolescents? Three research questions were addressed:
Within this sample:
1. To what extent does loneliness exist?
2. Is loneliness more frequent during certain ages?
3. Do pregnant black and white adolescents differ in the extent to which they experience loneliness?
Participants between the ages of 14 and 18 receiving prenatal care in public health clinics and a university affiliated obstetric clinic were selected for the study. The final sample size was 78. The loneliness study was conducted as part of a larger longitudinal study, Nursing Role Supplementation for Adolescent Parents (NIH #1R01NR01939-01A1).
The dependent variable, loneliness, was measured by the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, 1980), a 20-item Likert-type instrument. Possible scores on the tool ranged from 20 to 80, with 80 constituting the loneliest end of the continuum. The extent of loneliness was determined by the summation of numerical responses.
Data were analyzed by two methods: (a) analysis of variance (ANOVA), to determine any differences between age and loneliness score, and (b) the t-test for two independent samples, in order to examine differences in mean loneliness scores between blacks and whites in the sample.
Scores ranged from 25 to 58. "Low" to "moderate" loneliness existed among the sample; however, loneliness did not exist in greater amplitude than among nonpregnant adolescents in other studies reviewed. No significant relationship was found between age of participants and loneliness scores. Furthermore, differences in loneliness scores between blacks and whites were not statistically significant.
Finally, pregnancy may not intensify loneliness for adolescents. On the other hand, pregnancy did not diminish loneliness among pregnant adolescents in this sample.
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