Loneliness and associated factors among Brazilian adolescents: results of national adolescent school-based health survey 2015

J Pediatr (Rio J). 2022 Jan-Feb;98(1):92-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jped.2021.04.004. Epub 2021 May 24.


Objective: To identify the associated factors to loneliness among Brazilian adolescents, considering this is a knowledge gap and given its severity. The United Nations estimates that mental health problems affect approximately 20% of adolescents worldwide.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study with data from the National Adolescent School-based Health Survey 2015, conducted with students aged 13-17 in Brazil. The statistical analysis was performed with the calculation of the prevalence of feeling loneliness reported. Poisson regression with the adjusted Prevalence Ratio was used to evaluate the association between sociodemographic characteristics, family context, mental health and lifestyles, and feelings of loneliness.

Results: 15,5% of Brazilian students reported loneliness in the last 12 months. Female gender, higher maternal education, insomnia and be bullying victims rarely or sometimes and most of the time or always had a higher prevalence rate of loneliness. Having friends, having a meal with parents or guardians 5 days or more a week and having understanding parents showed a lower prevalence ratio for loneliness.

Conclusion: Loneliness feeling is frequent among adolescents and is associated with female gender, less social and family support, intra-family violence and risk behaviors such as alcohol consumption and bullying. Policies to promote physical and mental well-being in this age group, stimulating friendship and family participation in the lives of adolescents should be made .

Keywords: Adolescent; Adolescent health, Adolescent development; Comprehensive health care; Loneliness; Mental health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Loneliness*
  • Schools