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Latino Adolescents' Loneliness, Academic Performance, and the Buffering Nature of Friendships

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 40 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2011 Pages: 556-567
Aprile D. Benner
Date Published
May 2011
12 pages
This study examined the relationship between loneliness and educational success.
This longitudinal study examined Latino adolescents' feelings of loneliness and the repercussions of loneliness for later educational success. Participants were 640 Latino students (56 percent girls, 62 percent Mexican/Mexican-American) who reported on loneliness across the first 2 years of high school. Growth mixture modeling identified three distinct loneliness trajectory classes for the Latino adolescentsconsistently low, chronically high, and low but increasing. Language brokering, language use, and school mobility emerged as predictors of class membership. Increasingly and chronically lonely youth experienced academic difficulty, both in terms of academic progress and exit exam success, but support from friends served as a buffer of the negative relationship between loneliness and academic success. This study highlights the pernicious effects of loneliness and suggests promoting prosocial friendship support as a means of facilitating more positive academic outcomes for Latino youth. (Published Abstract)