Exploring Associations between Family Building Behaviors and Loneliness in Early Adulthood

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Chi CHIAO, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan
Yu-Hua CHEN, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Family-building behaviors are conducive to the development of family relationships in young adulthood. In these days, young people yet seem to have trouble seeking companionship in the family and household spheres as a significant increase in mental health issue around the world. Depression has well been recognized as a strong association with loneliness, defined as ‘a discrepancy between one’s desired and achieved levels of social relations’. We thus assess whether loneliness cluster and have conceptual meaning socially and emotionally. We then further explore how various categories in marriage, cohabitation, and having a child are associated with the likelihood of being in specific clusters of loneliness for the two genders.

Data from the longitudinal panel surveys of Taiwan Youth Project (2000-2014, n=2,726, aged 27-32) are used to assess a series of categories of entry into marriage, entry into cohabitation, and stay single as well as having a child on loneliness among Taiwanese young men and women. Loneliness was assessed by six questions of the De Jong-Gierveld short scale with two distinct dimensions: social and emotional loneliness. Among the participants, more than half remained single and not in romantic relationship (51%); 8% cohabitated; and, one-fifth married. Among these married 72% had a child. Preliminary results from multivariate regression models indicate young adults who remain single without a romantic relationship had a significant lower level of emotional loneliness, compared to other marital categories for both genders. A similar association is also found for men on social loneliness. However, for women a significant lower level of social loneliness is only observed among the married who had a child (β = -0.27, p<0.5).

Further investigations will conduct cluster analysis on two distinct loneliness domains, model its relationships with various marital groups, and explore the social network characteristics as covariates on loneliness clusters.