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Loneliness and mattering : investigating distinctions among university students Chang, Selena


Perceived mattering, or the psychological tendency to evaluate the self as significant to others, and loneliness are two constructs that have received increasing attention in the past several decades. However, there is a dearth of literature on the relationship between mattering and loneliness. The purpose of this study was to empirically test the relationship between the two constructs, as well as to determine whether perceived mattering has a compensatory or additive effect in accounting for variance in loneliness. The secondary aim of this study was to test for any moderating effects of gender on the relationships between loneliness and mattering to various referents. The data were gathered from a convenience sample of university students (N = 99; 77% female, n = 76; 23% male, n = 23). Stepwise regressions, with loneliness as the dependent variable and perceived mattering to various referents as the independent variables, were conducted. Interaction terms were created and entered into regressions to test for compensatory and moderating effects. The results revealed that perceived mattering and loneliness were not inversely related although they were significantly negatively associated. Mattering to various referents (mothers, fathers, friends, and romantic partners) had an additive effect in accounting for variance in loneliness. Lastly, gender moderated the negative relationship between mattering and loneliness when the referents were mothers and fathers. Implications for future research and social work practice are discussed.

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