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What Predicts Loneliness? Cultural Difference Between Individualistic and Collectivistic Societies in Europe
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Using two multilevel analyses of residents in 12 (1992 Eurobarometer; N = 3,902) and 22 (2006 European Social Survey, N = 38,867) European societies, respectively, we examined loneliness as a function of dominant cultural values. Levels of loneliness were higher in collectivistic compared with individualistic societies, but societies differed in terms of their predictors of loneliness. In collectivistic societies, the absence of interactions with family was more closely linked to loneliness than was the case in individualistic societies. Conversely, in individualistic societies, the absence of interactions with friends and having a confidant was more closely linked to loneliness than in collectivistic societies. Findings are consistent with the notion that autonomy and choice with regard to interaction partners have greater implications for well-being in individualistic societies whereas traditional social bonds are more potent in collectivistic societies.