Infant and Child Development vol:23 issue:3 pages:239-248
Benefits and disadvantages of solitude for adolescents are often highlighted. However, research focusing on adolescents’ attitudes towards solitude and their associations with such disadvantages or benefits is rather limited. The present study provides a person-centered perspective on the co-occurrence of two attitudes towards solitude (i.e., aversion versus affinity) and their associations with coping with loneliness and adjustment. Two independent samples were employed: A sample of 368 freshmen (Mage= 18.22 years, 83.7% female) and another sample of 1,388 high school students (Mage = 15.72 years, 64.1% female). Cluster analysis uncovered three meaningful clusters across both samples: a true Affinity cluster, a true Aversion cluster, and an Indifferent cluster (having low scores on both attitudes). Whereas the Affinity group more actively confronted their problems when feeling lonely, the Aversion group sought social support more actively. In general, the Indifferent group showed the most optimal profile of psychological adjustment. Specifically, they used the least passive coping strategies, such as avoidance and depressive reaction patterns. Furthermore, they experienced greater self-esteem, less depressive symptoms, and lower loneliness as compared to the other two groups. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are outlined.