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.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 Society for Research on Adolescence
- early adolescents’ loneliness
- social connections
- virtual communication
- willingness to help