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The aims of this study were to find out the degree of loneliness among Portuguese adolescents from immigrant backgrounds in Switzerland, and the factors that may predict the level of loneliness among them. Portuguese immigration to Switzerland is a recent phenomenon with relatively high rates of immigrants. Three hypotheses were tested: loneliness scores of Portuguese adolescents living in Switzerland are not different from those of Portuguese adolescents living in Portugal; variables within each one of the three sets taken into account – socio-demographic, intercultural contact and psychosocial adjustment – will be predictors of loneliness; and the variables of intercultural contact and psychosocial adjustment will be more predictive of loneliness than socio-demographic variables will be. The study sample consisted of 95 subjects (mean age = 16.1 years; SD = 1.84). The mean duration of sojourn in Switzerland for the sample was 7.2 years ( SD = 4.1). They were asked to fill in a questionnaire with several measures, including socio-demographic information, ethnic language proficiency, majority language proficiency, ethnic identity, majority identity, perceived discrimination, stressful experience, adaptation, mastery, self-esteem, symptoms outcome and loneliness. A control group involving 363 Portuguese youth was included in the study. The hypotheses were supported. There were no significant differences between Portuguese adolescents living in Portugal and in Switzerland in terms of level of loneliness. Socio-demographic, intercultural contact and psychosocial adjustment variables accounted for 35% of the variance explained. Majority language proficiency was the most important predictor of loneliness. Implications of the study for counsellors are suggested.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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