Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Dr. Ronald Burwell


What an extreme poverty loneliness, shyness, the feeling of thinking that no one wants you ... is.. -Mother Teresa

Loneliness is a prevalent and important social phenomenon yet it is often overlooked in our world today. It can affect people everywhere, however some cultures make people more prone to experience loneliness than others. Many definitions exist for loneliness, but for purposes of this study, loneliness is a state of being characterized by a disparity between expected and actual amounts of meaningful interpersonal contact and accompanied by negative emotions. No single factor can account for loneliness; factors on all levels, from cellular biological to supranational, must be considered in any analysis of loneliness to fully understand its causes (Flanders 1982). Factors influencing a person's loneliness range from the individual's personality traits and circumstances (Weiss 1982) to the culture and nation-state as a whole. While all the factors are important, an individual's cultural background determines, to a great extent, his or her predisposition to experience loneliness. Each culture has its own cultural character, its unique world view and set of values, including norms for public and private life.