Cultural antecedents of feeling lonely: Individualism, collectivism, and loneliness in Austria

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


Feeling lonely is profoundly unhealthy, but poorly understood. We examined the cultural dimension of collectivism (vs. individualism) as a potential risk factor for loneliness. Generally, we expected loneliness to flow from perceived ideal-actual discrepancies regarding social relationship characteristics (H1). However, we expected collectivists to feel lonelier than individualists (H2), because although collectivists may be buffered from loneliness through higher social involvement (H3), they may also be more susceptible to loneliness due to a higher sensitivity to ideal-actual discrepancies regarding relationships (H4). To test our hypotheses, 239 Austrians participated in a cross-sectional survey study. We found that, in this moderately individualist country, perceived ideal-actual discrepancies indeed predicted loneliness (H1), but that collectivists reported lower loneliness (H2), which was explained by collectivists’ more favourable relationship characteristics (H3). Notwithstanding, perceived collectivism amplified the perceived importance of actual-ideal comparisons regarding relationships for loneliness (H4). These findings suggest that collectivism can act as both a psychological buffer against loneliness (when internalized) and a cultural risk factor (when perceived in one’s surroundings).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5-Jul-2017
EventEASP General Meeting 2017 - Granada, Spain
Duration: 5-Jul-20178-Jul-2017
Conference number: 18


ConferenceEASP General Meeting 2017
Abbreviated titleAEPS17
Internet address

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