Preliminary models of risk and protective factors for childhood homesickness: review and empirical synthesis

Child Dev. 1998 Aug;69(4):903-34.


Empirical research and conventional wisdom have suggested numerous risk and protective factors for the development of homesickness. Yet no study has integrated predictors and sequelae of homesickness into a testable statistical model. As a first step in developing a pathogenic model of homesickness in children, this study measured, factor analyzed, and modeled 14 predictors and 8 sequelae of homesickness. Using a sample of 293 boys, ages 8-16, spending 2 weeks at an overnight summer camp, this study tested 2 alternate models, focusing on the roles of boys' interpersonal attitudes, perceived control, and separation expectations in the subsequent development of homesickness. Results indicated that interpersonal attitudes and perceived control may predict boys' preseparation beliefs about whether they will become homesick. This "homesick disposition" combines with little prior separation experience to account for 69% of the variance in self-reported homesickness. Homesickness was not a powerful predictor of negative emotion, whereas interpersonal attitudes and perceived control predicted 70% of the variance in negative emotion. Results are discussed in the context of contemporary theories of homesickness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety, Separation / etiology*
  • Anxiety, Separation / physiopathology
  • Anxiety, Separation / psychology
  • Attitude
  • Camping / psychology
  • Child
  • Dependency, Psychological
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Family Health
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Object Attachment
  • Parents / psychology
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Risk Factors
  • Temperament / physiology