University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal - Multiple Complications from a Finger Fracture in a Basketball Player
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Discussion

Loneliness ratings of children with AD, children with SP, and children who were typically developing were compared. In an attempt to understand why the two diagnostic groups experience feelings of loneliness, social functioning was also analyzed and compared. More specifically, this study aimed: (a) to investigate group differences on self-reported loneliness and anxiety; (b) to investigate group differences on level of anxiety and behavioral characteristics (i.e., internalizing or externalizing) based on parental reports; (c) to assess the relationship between parent ratings of children and child self-report ratings of social withdrawal; (d) and to assess the relationship between child self-report of loneliness and anxiety. Previous studies of loneliness in children with AD have revealed that they experience loneliness more frequently and more intensely than TD children (Bauminger & Kasari 2000). The current study assessed if children with AD also have higher ratings of loneliness than children with SP.

Loneliness

As expected, children with AD had the highest ratings of loneliness, but their ratings were not significantly higher from children with SP. Both children with SP and children with AD differed significantly from TD children, indicating that both groups experienced more loneliness than children with no disorder.

Anxiety

Self-reported ratings of anxiety were significantly lower in TD children. Interestingly, there was not a significant difference in anxiety between children with AD and children with SP. Based on parental ratings of social anxiety in their children, all three groups were significantly different, with the largest difference between children with SP and TD children. These results suggest that parents of children with SP see their children as significantly more socially anxious than do parents of children with AD.

Behavioral Characteristics

Children with AD scored significantly higher than children with SP on a measure of externalizing behaviors, such as disobedience and stubbornness. Children who exhibit these behaviors are often viewed negatively by their peers, which may lead to rejection. This rejection, in turn, can lead to social isolation and feelings of loneliness (Margalit & Levin-Alyagon 1994).

In contrast, children with SP scored high on a measure of internalizing behaviors, which includes behaviors such as shyness and social withdrawal. Avoidant behaviors of this type can lead to neglect from peers, which could also, in turn, lead to social isolation and feelings of loneliness (Beidel & Turner 2007). Therefore, although both groups experience loneliness, the behavior that may lead to those feelings appears to be different. These differences suggest that appropriate interventions to prevent or treat feelings of loneliness would require different intervention strategies for these two groups. Results from a longitudinal study would better explain why and when children with AD and SP become socially isolated by peers.

Social Withdrawal

A positive and significant relationship exists between parental reports of social withdrawal in their children and child self-report of social withdrawal. This relationship indicates that there is agreement between parents and children of negative effect and that parents may be objective reporters of their child's social impairment. Therefore, should treatment be implemented, parental report may be used as an objective measure of treatment outcome.

Loneliness and Anxiety

A positive and significant relationship also exists between child self-report of anxiety and loneliness. Results from this analysis reveal that anxiety is a factor, but not the greatest factor influencing feelings of loneliness. Thus, further research to find other factors that influence loneliness is important.

Conclusion >>