Rethinking Loneliness—A Qualitative Study about Adolescents’ Experiences of Being an Outsider in Peer Group


Friends and peers are remarkably important to young people, and problems in peer relations are often causes of adolescents’ emotional stress. The purpose of this study was to investigate adolescents’ views about what it means to be excluded in peer group and how this kind of experience is linked to their emotional wellbeing. The study exploited qualitative methodology and the findings were based on adolescents’ personal accounts of identifying themselves as “outsiders”. The data were produced in dialogical interviews with 126 Finnish adolescents. As a result, four different types of being an outsider were identified. These were found to be closely attached to emotional stress and feeling of loneliness experienced by adolescents. The results imply that adolescents’ loneliness should not be looked at as a single category but it should rather be put into the context of young person’s own meaning-making, preferences of belonging, and personal biography. The study compliments earlier studies with qualitative insight and experiential accounts about adolescent’s self-perceived experiences of peer exclusion. These could be valuable in practices of psychology, psychiatry, social work and youth work, in seeking to understand adolescents’ lived worlds and their ways of interpreting peer interaction.

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Korkiamäki, R. (2014) Rethinking Loneliness—A Qualitative Study about Adolescents’ Experiences of Being an Outsider in Peer Group. Open Journal of Depression, 3, 125-135. doi: 10.4236/ojd.2014.34016.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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