Loneliness is proposed to have three dimensions: isolation, connectedness, and belongingness (Hawkley, et aI., 1999). In an extension of the work by Hawkley and colleagues (1999), these levels are hypothesized to be a function of three unique aspects of self: personal, relational, and collective. Brewer (1996) proposed that self-esteem is experienced differently at each level of self. Personal self-esteem is how a person feels about himself or herself based on his or her individual traits and characteristics. Relational self-esteem is based on whether a person believes that he or she exhibits appropriate behavior in a one-on-one relationship. Collective self-esteem is how one evaluates his or her participation in a group and how others evaluate the group as well. Given different levels of self-esteem and prior research showing a negative correlation between loneliness and self-esteem, the hypothesis that there is a stronger relationship between loneliness and self-esteem within each level of self relative to between levels was tested. Dimensions of loneliness and self-esteem were examined by having male and female undergraduates (ages 18-21) complete the Loneliness Dimension Scale, the Collective Self-Esteem Scale, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and a new measure of relational self-esteem. Correlations were then calculated to determine the relationship between loneliness and self-esteem at each level: personal, relational, and collective. Correlations were analyzed for significance. Results show trends supporting the hypotheses for the personal, relational, and collective levels and significant differences were found for the relational and collective levels.
Bednar '00, Kiley L., "Loneliness and Self-Esteem at Different Levels of the Self" (2000). Honors Projects. Paper 20.