Loneliness: An exploration of meaning

Mary Rosedale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although loneliness is acknowledged as a common human experience and a variable of concern for psychiatric clinicians, the nursing literature has primarily treated it as a social deficit or pathological phenomenon. Loneliness has been studied in conjunction with other variables but rarely as a central focus itself. A review of the literature shows more multifaceted ways of viewing loneliness and thinking about its meaning. Examining dictionary, sacred, philosophical, psychological, and nursing views and theories of loneliness, it is apparent that nurses have only begun to investigate this ubiquitous phenomenon. Consistent with her own research findings of survivor-loneliness following breast cancer, the author suggests that nurses look beyond the contemporary encapsulated meaning of loneliness and begin asking patients to inform them of their understanding about its meaning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Alone
  • Aloneness
  • Existential
  • Existentialism
  • Feeling lonely
  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Social isolation
  • Solitude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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