Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Education Specialist


Loneliness in children has been associated with internalizing symptoms such as shyness, depression, and low self-esteem (Brage, Meredith, & Woodward, 1993; Renshaw & Brown, 1993; Rubin, LeMare, & Lollis, 1990) and externalizing symptoms such as aggression (Coie, Dodge, & Coppotelli, 1982; Cassidy & Asher, 1992; Dobson, Campbell, & Dobson, 1987). The later outcomes of both of these kinds of internalizing and externalizing symptoms include school withdrawal, criminality, and victimization (Rubin, 1985; Parker & Asher, 1987). We know that children who rate themselves lonely tend to be rejected by peer groups. We also know that children who are rejected by peer groups lack social skills. Thus, one might speculate that there is a relationship between perceived loneliness and level of social skills. Given the evidence for the implications of loneliness, this study compared self-reports of loneliness and social skills between learning disabled students. A sample of 31 learning disabled students was matched with 31 regular education students on gender, age, grade, and ethnicity. The participants were enrolled in six schools in two small rural Kentucky counties in the United States. As predicted, the learning disabled group showed a higher mean than the regular education group, with a one-tailed independent samples t-test indicating significance between mean group differences on the Illinois Loneliness and Social Dissatisfaction Scale (ILSDS). The second hypothesis explored mean group differences on the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) and the learning disabled group showed a statistically lower mean on their self-ratings of social skills than the regular education group. Neither group showed a significant correlation between loneliness and social skills. Results were discussed in terms of methodological limitations and the need for additional research.


Education | Psychology | Special Education and Teaching