Too Lonely to Help: Early Adolescents’ Social Connections and Willingness to Help During COVID-19 Lockdown

Hagit Sabato*, Yael Abraham, Tehila Kogut

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined early adolescents’ social connections, their emotional state, and their willingness to act prosocially during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. In two studies—comparing fourth to sixth graders during lockdown with a similar sample in pre-pandemic times, and longitudinally examining the same sample of participants, twice—we found that overall, early adolescents’ emotional state during lockdown was significantly worse than in normal times (before the pandemic). This decline was explained by the participants’ ratings of their loneliness, which was linked to their social (virtual) connections during lockdown. Importantly, participants with fewer social connections (in the virtual world as well as in face-to-face interactions) were less willing to help a lonely peer—even though they experienced similar pangs of loneliness.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)764-779
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Society for Research on Adolescence

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • early adolescents’ loneliness
  • social connections
  • virtual communication
  • willingness to help

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