Personality and Individual Differences 42 (2007) 1359–1366

Reliability and validity of the Danish version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale
Mathias Lasgaard

Department of Psychology, University of Aarhus, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark Received 19 May 2006; received in revised form 25 September 2006; accepted 5 October 2006 Available online 28 November 2006

Abstract The objective of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of a Danish version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale (UCLA). The 20-item scale was completed along with other measures in a national youth probability sample of 379 8th grade students aged 13–17. The scale showed high internal consistency, and correlations between UCLA and measures of emotional loneliness, social loneliness, self-esteem, depression, extraversion, and neuroticism supported the convergent and discriminant validity of the scale. Exploratory factor analysis supported a unidimensional structure of the measure. The results, highly comparable to the original version of the scale, indicate that the Danish version of UCLA is a reliable and valid measure of loneliness. Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Loneliness; UCLA; Rating scales; Adolescence; Reliability; Validity; Factor analysis

1. Introduction Loneliness is a serious problem among adolescence (Jones & Carver, 1991; West, Kellner, & Morre-West, 1986) and has been associated with low self-esteem (Brage, Meredith, & Woodward, 1993; Schultz & Moore, 1988), depression (Koenig, Isaacs, & Schwartz, 1994; Lau, Chan, & Lau, 1999), anxiety (Johnson, LaVoie, Spenceri, & Mahoney-Wernli, 2001; Moore & Schultz, 1983),

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1990). Method 2. Moreover. 1993). Lasgaard / Personality and Individual Differences 42 (2007) 1359–1366 anorexia nervosa (Troop & Bifulco. Yarcheski. and suicide ideation and behaviour (Garnefski. However. Moreover.4). some of the derived factors reflect the direction of items. e. 1997). Chisholm. and a third version (Russell. suffered from methodological weaknesses. which may be due to the lack of validated versions of well-established measures. very little research in loneliness has been done in adolescent populations in Denmark.g. 1996). Yarcheski. 1996). However. 1992). Russell. 2002). 1998). 1996).89 in adolescent populations (e. 1992). Neto. & Chen. 1996). and discriminate validity. & Godfrey. exploratory factor analyses of the Revised UCLA (second version) have yielded a number of different structures. 1994. Russia (Ruchkin. 1996). Koenig et al. & Yarcheski. 1995). 1996). 1980). South Africa (Pretoirus. & Ferguson. & Cutrona. we aimed to examine the validity and reliability of a Danish version of UCLA in a representative adolescent population by testing the internal consistency. To do so. Austin. The present article examines a Danish version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale (UCLA) (Russell. and Zimbabwe (Wilson. 1983. Roberts. Eisemann. Marsh.g. Peplau. 1993). Russell. on which basis researchers have argued that the scale comprises one (Pretoirus. 1992) factors. & Yarcheski. & de Heus. However. including high internal consistency. Subjects The data in this study were collected from a questionnaire survey with a national probability sample of 379 youngsters aged 13–17 (M = 14. Iran (Hojat.1360 M. 1993. Hojat. Canada (de Gra ¨ ring & Bortz. Diekstra. 1993. The two revised scales are easy to administer and have satisfactory psychometric properties. 1993. 1999). The goal of this study was to standardize a Danish measure of loneliness. 1978). Evidently. and Ha ¨ gglof. 1988. Hartshorne. based on statements used by individuals to describe feelings of loneliness. The developers of UCLA consider the scale to be a unidimensional measure of loneliness (Russell. Joshi. The sample was geographically stratified and 39 randomly selected schools that taught 8th grade students were approached with .. Knight. the scale was revised in a second version (Russell. (1980) have reported evidence of convergent validity. 1992). Mahon. Turkey (Uruk & Demir. 2. 1993). Germany (Do Richaud de Minzi. The original scale (Russell.g. Lees.g. typically a P . All studies found the adapted scale a sufficient measure of loneliness. Russell. indicated by strong correlations between UCLA and other measures of loneliness. Cutts. three (e. the factorial structure of UCLA remains rather controversial. 1982). confirmatory analyses have supported the unidimensionality of the scale (Hartshorne. Mapungwana. four (Hojat. two (e. the most widely used self-report scale for measuring loneliness in adolescent and adult populations (Hartshorne. 1982.g. Greece (Anderson & Malikiosi-Loizos. including Argentina (Sacchi & ˆ ce. As stressed by Russell (1996). 1993).1.1 years. 1992. 1982) or five (e. McWhirter. Peplau. Roberts. Russell (1996) and Russell et al. & Pelletier. and good test-retest reliability (e. UCLA has been used and validated in many different countries. and the factorial structure of the scale. the convergent and discriminant validity. & Maunganidze. Portugal (Neto. indicating that ratings are affected by acquiescence or other similar response styles. 2004). 2003). SD = 0. supported by confirmatory factor analysis indicating that UCLA and measures of social support define distinct factors.g. Mahon.

describing subjective feelings of loneliness. The two subscales were scored on a 4-point Likert scale and showed good internal consistency in the study (PNLS: a = . The original scale was compared with the back-translated scale and non-uniform items discussed. 2000) was included. and an average of 90% of the students were present on the day of the study. Bukowski. Twenty-two schools agreed to participate. sealing the return envelope in front of the pupils). and has been translated into Danish by Prof. the scale does not directly measure states that laypeople attribute as loneliness. 1996) was translated from the original English version into Danish by the author and back translated by a person holding a Master of Arts. A professor of clinical psychology and four psychology students at master level then reviewed the translated UCLA. SD = 4. 2. and the selection procedure in case there was more than one 8th grade class in the school (the primacy of the initials of the class teacher decided the class). who confirmed that the written instruction. which led to minor revisions of the Danish translation. PDLS: a = . All students present participated in the study.g.0). The scale consists of 20 items (11 positive and 9 negative). The measure was translated and revised using the same procedure as with UCLA. monitoring and support. it is relevant to investigate the discriminant validity of UCLA by comparing the magnitude of correlations between UCLA and such measures with the correlations between UCLA and other measures of loneliness (Russell. and the collection procedure of the study. With the purpose to test for convergent validity.83. the Peer Network and Dyadic Loneliness Scale (PNDLS) (Hoza. but rather the scale measures a theoretically defined and scientifically validated understanding of loneliness.2 pupils. 1965) was used to measure self-esteem. and the confidentiality procedures (e. A letter to the class teacher explained the aim of the study and described the procedure of the data collection.77). also causing minor revisions. Elklit (Department of .2. Consequently. For that reason Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (SES) (Rosenberg. items. ranging from never (1) to always (4). explaining the aim of the study. PNDLS is a new 2 · 8-item child and adolescence Loneliness Scale. the need of introduction. Since strong correlations have been found between loneliness and measures of personality and depression. Lasgaard / Personality and Individual Differences 42 (2007) 1359–1366 1361 the purpose to recruit one randomly selected class from each school. Scores on the scale range from 20 to 80 with higher scores reflecting greater loneliness. a letter to each student explained the purpose. none of which refers specifically to loneliness. Finally. The scale comprises 10-items. consisting of two subscales: (1) Peer Network Loneliness Scale (PNLS) that measures social loneliness caused by the lack of involvement in a social network. & Beery. and rating system were understandable. Each class consisted of between 6 and 24 pupils (M = 17. and (2) Peer Dyadic Loneliness Scale (PDLS) that measures emotional loneliness caused by the absence of a close dyadic friendship. The 20 items are rated on a 4point Likert scale in accordance with the rate of frequency. 1996). Procedures The study was introduced through a letter to the headmaster of the selected schools. Finally.M. Measures The UCLA Loneliness Scale (third version) (Russell. the measure was tested in a pilot study with six 8th grade students. 3. the confidentiality. scored on a 4-point Likert scale.

2004). Reliability and validity The internal consistency of the scale was high with a Cronbach’s Alpha of . 4.94 across four . The mean. 41% had one sibling.000 inhabitants).500. and 50% of the students lived in a city (10. country of birth. so analyses of age are based on three groups (students < 14 years (n = 19). However. The gender distribution was 53% male and 47% female. Moreover. gender. University of Aarhus). and Hansen (2004). scored on a 4-point Likert scale in accordance with the degree of occurrence.3. which is comparable to results of the original scale where Cronbach’s Alpha ranged from . suggesting that rather few students scored highly on the scale. The measure comprises 20 symptoms of depression. Twenty-six percent of the students lived in rural areas (i. median (36) and modes (28. Results 4. 4. The reported characteristics resemble general figures of Danish 8th grade students (cf. two students did not report their age.05). Lasgaard. the study has a high probability of being representative of all Danish 8th grade students. Beck Depression Inventory for Youth (BDI-Y) (Beck. the scores were slightly positively skewed (. validated in a Danish sample by Thastum. 1991) were included to measure two well-established personality traits. was used to measure depression.72. living arrangements. a similar pattern was reported in four studies using the original version of the scale (Russell. and 1% lived with others. the sample had a distribution of public and private schools similar to the general distribution of schools. while 6% were born in other countries. 28% lived with one parent. Ninety-four percent of the pupils were born in Denmark. which is slightly above the average score of 3. range: 20–75). Beck. and had a high internal consistency in the study (a = .2.38.000–1. SES showed good internal consistency in the present study (a = . Lasgaard / Personality and Individual Differences 42 (2007) 1359–1366 Psychology.89 to . the subscales Extraversion and Neuroticism from the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire – Revised Short Scale (EPQ-RSS) (Eysenck & Eysenck. in the countryside but not in a village).000 inhabitants).94). Six percent of the pupils were an only child. scored on a 2point yes/no scale. number of siblings. and residential location. 2006).283 adolescents (M = 15. Each subscale comprises 12 statements.92.1). 2006). In summary. and 53% had two or more siblings. Both subscales showed good internal consistency in the study (both scales a = .88). No significant differences in loneliness scores were found in relation to age. & Jolley. p < . students > 14 years (n = 43)).46 (SD = 10. The two subscales were translated and revised using the same procedure as with UCLA. 1996). Moreover. Notably.1. Paulsen. Seventy-one percent of the students lived with both parents. Descriptive statistics The average score for UCLA total was 37. 24% lived in a village/small town (610.1362 M.85). indicating that the distribution of scores was quite normal. based on data from 21 studies (summarized by Lasgaard. Sample characteristics The great majority of the students were 14 years old.e. 34) were fairly similar. 4. students = 14 years (n = 315).

p < . (2) the minimum average partials method (Velicer.57 À.47 . 1996).73. the two factors reflect the direction of item wordings with the 10 first loading items all being positively worded and with the nine items on the second factor all being negatively worded. p < .0% of the variance meeting the three criteria was identified. and in accordance with studies including the original scale (Russell.59.894. and Noble (1988). (1988).018 for the first factor and 1. As already mentioned.280 for the fourth component.0005).0005. Mills.41 BDI-Y .38 À.0005).0005) and neuroticism (r = 58. UCLA was highly related to the measures of self-esteem (r = À. and 1.30) was performed to determine the optimal factor structure for this sample. UCLA loneliness scores were highly correlated with the two subscales of the other included loneliness measure. Factor analysis The structure of UCLA was investigated by use of factor analysis.58 . these . and a second factor with nine items. This result supports the convergent validity of the scale. Table 1 shows the correlations between UCLA and the other included measures.230 for the fifth component.505 eigenvalues for the first component. A two-factor solution explaining 50. depression (r = . 1.65. p < . As expected. 2000). Knight et al. p < . and McWhirter (1990). and (3) a scree plot.0005). different samples (Russell. which is why the factor analysis was repeated without this item.73 PDLS .69. 1996). Similar findings have been reported by Adams. 1. the magnitudes of these correlations were evidently less than the correlations found between UCLA and the two subscales of PNDLS. These findings support the discriminant validity of the adapted scale.47 .66 EPQ-RSS-E À.001) (Russell.0005).341 for the third component.28 EPQ-RSS-N . Moreover. Using the same criteria for identifying factors the second analysis extracted a two-factor solution with an eigenvalue of 9. Openshaw. However. 4.58 À.73 À.58.59 . Also the magnitudes of the correlations were less than those reported between the original UCLA and two other measures of loneliness (r = . 1996).4. The solution comprised one factor with 19 items. Bennion. 1. explaining 52. One item (#17) did not load on any factor. PNLS (r = .59 . Criteria for identifying the factors were based on (1) Glorfeld’s (1995) version of parallel analysis with a sample size of N = 379 and k = 20 variables (the principal components must be greater than 1.30 À. The eigenvalue was 8. p < .M. 1.69 .41 All p’s < . using the 95th percentile and 5000 replications). An exploratory analysis with direct oblimin rotation (loading criteria P .57.47 .57 À.38 À.187 for the sixth component. and a second factor with nine items.410 for the second component. including nine double loadings. The solution comprised one factor with 10 items.1% of the variance. p < .990 for the second factor.69 SES À. Austin (1983). However.55 À. 72.0005). and the personality traits of extraversion (r = À. 1976) using available syntax (O’Connor. and PDLS (r = . Lasgaard / Personality and Individual Differences 42 (2007) 1359–1366 Table 1 Correlation matrixa Scale UCLA PNLS PDLS SES BDI-Y EPQ-RSS-E a 1363 PNLS . p < .

the original version of UCLA has been used successfully in a great number of student and adult populations (e. some of the derived factors. Moreover. just beneath the loading criteria. is that the available knowledge about loneliness is based on answers to single-item self-rating scales about the occurrence of loneliness (e. 1996). 5. For that reason the item was maintained in the scale. However. 2005). Shaffer. i. & Zakalik. Moreover. Russell. rather few measures of psychological constructs have been validated in Denmark. self-esteem.018. Lasgaard / Personality and Individual Differences 42 (2007) 1359–1366 results indicate that the ratings of UCLA are affected by acquiescence or other similar response styles. However. researchers studying loneliness should bear in mind that distributional problems may affect the results of statistical tests. it is very doubtful how useful such answers are. Moreover. the reason being that the measures were selected from a large-scale national probability study of 8th grade students. frequently included in large-scale studies (e. ‘‘how often do you feel lonely?’’).e. future research will solve the problem of ratings reflecting the direction of item wordings. the exploratory factor analyses of the Danish version of UCLA (third version) supported a unidimensional structure. as they are more prone to effects of the willingness to report. In summary. the performed exploratory analyses support a unidimensional structure of the Danish version of UCLA. Tudor-Smith. (King. Interestingly. a one-factor solution (loading criteria P. Notably. Unfortunately. Another limitation of the study is that most of the measures used to validate the Danish version of UCLA have not themselves been validated as translated measures. 1993. In summary. The internal consistency of the scale was high and the reported correlations with measures of emotional loneliness. which is why it seems highly likely that the Danish version will prove a sufficient measure of loneliness in research in older populations. As stressed by Russell (1996).g. since relatively few students reported high levels of loneliness. social loneliness. 1996). 1996)). rather than different typologies of loneliness. Therefore.1364 M. & Harel. loaded with .1% of the variance. which extracted a factor that carried 19 items and had an eigenvalue of 8. the loneliness scores of the adolescent group were slightly positively skewed. the excluded item (#17).g. depression.27 on the factor. reflect the direction of item wording. One limitation of the study is that the investigated sample consists of a narrow age group. these results were highly comparable to the original scale. and personality traits. 1996.g. the psychometric data presented support the validity and reliability of the scale.30) including all 20 items was carried out. which is why it in most cases was not possible to include standardized measures. A problem associated with the former lack of a validated Danish measure of loneliness. Young. supported the convergent and discriminant validity of the scale. which also showed the smallest loading in two samples of the original scale (Russell. Wei. two confirmatory analyses have supported the unidimensionality of the scale (Hartshorne. Russell. Contrary to other factor analyses of the Revised UCLA (second version). explaining 40. This may be explained by the minor revisions of the scale. Wold. Discussion This study has examined a Danish version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale. including some changes in item wording presented in the third version of the UCLA. . which for the most part has supported a multidimensional structure. reported in earlier studies. Hopefully.

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