Attitude to Loneliness: Behavioral Strategies as Coping Resources



The article deals with the concept of “loneliness” and provides a modern view on the problem of studying the phenomenon. The data of an empirical study on the experience of loneliness and coping behavior in adults is presented. The study involved 256 respondents aged 21 to 73, including 153 women and 103 men. Most of the participants live in Vyborg, Leningrad Region (65.2%). The participants in the study are representatives of different professional environments (university teachers, schools, gymnasiums, medical workers, engineers, civil servants), 216 people have a higher education. It was hypothesized that there may be types of attitudes towards loneliness, differing in the level of severity of the characteristics of the phenomenon, and these types can be regulated in different ways by coping behavior. Also, it was suggested that sociotropism acts as a resource in the experience of loneliness, and problem-oriented coping strategies act as predictors of sociotropy. The research design included the following methods: Differential Loneliness Experience Questionnaire by E.N.Osin and D.A.Leontyev (DOPO-3k); Scale of social and emotional loneliness (SELSA-S) as adapted by O.Yu. Strizhitskaya et al.; Scale of psychological well-being by K.Riff as adapted by E.G.Troshikhina and L.V.Zhukovskaya (short version); Satisfaction with Life Scale E.Dinner; Coping test by R.La- zarus, Scale “Sociotropy — Self-sufficiency”; questionnaire. Four types of attitudes towards loneliness were identified, which differ in the severity of the characteristics of loneliness and their ratio: “adaptive”, “dependent”, “coping”, “self-sufficient”. The differences in the regulation of behavior among respondents with different types of attitudes to loneliness are shown, the structure of the relationship between coping strategies and the characteristics of loneliness is determined. The contribution of problem-oriented strategies to reducing the level of the feeling of loneliness is shown and the ambiguous contribution of the “self-control” strategy to the experience of general loneliness and social-emotional loneliness, depending on the type of experience of the studied phenomenon. As an indirect result, it is indicated that sociotropy can act as a resource in situations when loneliness is experienced.

General Information

Keywords: types of attitudes to loneliness, experiencing loneliness, coping, sociotropism — self-sufficiency

Journal rubric: Empirical and Experimental Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 19-513-18015.

Received: 05.08.2021


For citation: Petrash M.D., Strizhitskaya O.Y., Murtazina I.R., Vartanyan G.A., Shchukin A.V. Attitude to Loneliness: Behavioral Strategies as Coping Resources. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2021. Vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 341–355. DOI: 10.21638/spbu16.2021.404. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


Cacioppo, J.T., Hawkley, L.C., Crawford, L.E., Ernst, J.M., Burleson, M.H., Kowalewski, R.B., Berntson, G.G. (2002). Loneliness and health: Potential mechanisms. Psychosomatic Medicine, 64 (3), 407–417.

Information About the Authors

Marina D. Petrash, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Developmental and Differential Psychology, Saint Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Olga Y. Strizhitskaya, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Head of the Department of Developmental Psychology and Differential Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Saint-Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Inna R. Murtazina, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Saint Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Gayane A. Vartanyan, PhD in Psychology, Senior Research Fellow, Saint Petersburg State University, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology of Health and Deviant Behaviour, Faculty of Psy-chology, Saint-Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Anton V. Shchukin, PhD in Psychology, St. Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:



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