The Handbook of Solitude


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Table of Contents

List of Contributors viii

Foreword: On Solitude, Withdrawal, and Social Isolation xii
Kenneth H. Rubin

Part I Theoretical Perspectives 1

1 All Alone: Multiple Perspectives on the Study of Solitude 3
Robert J. Coplan and Julie C. Bowker

2 Studying Withdrawal and Isolation in the Peer Group: Historical Advances in Concepts and Measures 14
William M. Bukowski and Marie-Hélène Véronneau

3 An Attachment Perspective on Loneliness 34
Mario Mikulincer and Phillip R. Shaver

4 Shyness and the Electrical Activity of the Brain: On the Interplay between Theory and Method 51
Louis A. Schmidt and Vladimir Miskovic

5 The Origins of Solitude: Psychoanalytic Perspectives 71
Evangelia Galanaki

6 Experiences of Solitude: Issues of Assessment, Theory, and Culture 90
James R. Averill and Louise Sundararajan

Part II Solitude Across the Lifespan 109

7 The Causes and Consequences of "Playing Alone" in Childhood 111
Robert J. Coplan and Laura Ooi

8 Peer Rejection in Childhood: Social Groups, Rejection Sensitivity, and Solitude 129
Drew Nesdale and Melanie J. Zimmer-Gembeck

9 Affinity for Aloneness in Adolescence and Preference for Solitude in Childhood: Linking Two Research Traditions 150
Luc Goossens

10 Social Withdrawal during Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood 167
Julie C. Bowker, Larry J. Nelson, Andrea Markovic, and Stephanie Luster

11 Introversion, Solitude, and Subjective Well-Being 184
John M. Zelenski, Karin Sobocko, and Deanna C. Whelan

12 Social Approach and Avoidance Motivations 202
Jana Nikitin and Simone Schoch

13 Ostracism and Solitude 224
Eric D. Wesselmann, Kipling D. Williams, Dongning Ren, and Andrew H. Hales

14 Social Isolation among Older People 242
Elaine Wethington and Karl Pillemer

Part III Solitude Across Contexts 261

15 Anxious Solitude at School 263
Heidi Gazelle and Madelynn Druhen Shell

16 Loneliness and Belongingness in the College Years 283
Steven R. Asher and Molly Stroud Weeks

17 Single in a Society Preoccupied with Couples 302
Bella DePaulo

18 Loneliness and Internet Use 317
Yair Amichai-Hamburger and Barry H. Schneider

19 Mindfulness Meditation: Seeking Solitude in Community 335
Paul Salmon and Susan Matarese

20 The Restorative Qualities of Being Alone with Nature 351
Kalevi Korpela and Henk Staats

Part IV Clinical Perspectives 369

21 Social Anhedonia and Solitude 371
Thomas R. Kwapil, Paul J. Silvia, and Neus Barrantes-Vidal

22 Social Anxiety Disorder and Emotional Solitude 391
Lynn E. Alden and Karen W. Auyeung

23 Loneliness and Social Isolation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders 409
Connie Kasari and Lindsey Sterling

24 Solitude and Personality Disorders 427
Kevin B. Meehan, Kenneth N. Levy, Christina M. Temes, and Jonathan J. Detrixhe

25 The Intersection of Culture and Solitude: The Hikikomori Phenomenon in Japan 445
Alan R. Teo, Kyle W. Stufflebam, and Takahiro A. Kato

Part V Disciplinary Perspectives 461

26 A View from Biology: Playing Alone and with Others: A Lesson from Animals 463
Elisabetta Palagi

27 A View from Anthropology: Anomie and Urban Solitude 483
Leo Coleman

28 A View from Sociology: The Role of Solitude in Transcending Social Crises – New Possibilities for Existential Sociology 499
Jack Fong

29 A View from Computer Science: From Solitude to Ambient Sociability – Redefining the Social and Psychological Aspects of Isolation in Online Games 517
Nicolas Ducheneaut and Nicholas Yee

30 A View from Political Theory: Desire, Subjectivity, and Pseudo-Solitude 539
Matthew H. Bowker

31 A View from Religious Studies: Solitude and Spirituality 557
John D. Barbour

Index 573

About the Author

Robert J. Coplan is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Carleton University and Director of the Pickering Centre for Research in Human Development. Dr. Coplan is co-editor of The Development of Shyness and Social Withdrawal (2010), and Social Development in Childhood and Adolescence: A Contemporary Reader (2011), and a former editor of the journal, Social Development. Julie C. Bowker is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Her research program focuses on the roles that close interpersonal relationships play in socio-emotional development and psychopathology during late childhood and early adolescence.


Solitude has had a bad name in our society, and in our psychology: it is often equated with isolation, loneliness, shyness, and social awkwardness. The Handbook discusses these, but abundantly treats the other side solitude that fosters insight, connection, creativity, introspection, healing, and enlightenment. This is a badly needed and broadly focused antidote for the negative approach, and its group of expert contributors provides a fuller understanding of a state people often experience, and sometimes need. ?Peter Suedfeld, Dean Emeritus of Graduate Studies and Professor Emeritus of Psychology, The University of British Columbia This large volume is a veritable feast of information and perspectives on the important topic of solitude. Scholars from diverse sub-disciplines of psychology (e.g., developmental, clinical, social, neuroscience, cultural psychology) and varied disciplines (e.g., sociology, anthropology, political science, religious studies, computer science, biology) weigh in on this complex topic. Even the most knowledgeable reader will learn much about types and potential causes and outcomes of solitude and be exposed to new theoretical frameworks. ?Nancy Eisenberg, Regents Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University

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