ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (3): 439-447.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00439

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“Alone but not lonely” or “Alone and also lonely”: Cultural Differences on Relations between Unsociability and Adjustment Functioning

DING Xuechen1; ZHANG Tian2; DENG Xinmei3; SANG Biao1,4; FANG Li5; CHENG Chen1   

  1. (1 School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China) (2 School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210024, China) (3 Department of Psychology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China) (4 School of Preschool and Special Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China) (5 School of Teacher Education, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu 610068, China)
  • Received:2014-03-11 Online:2015-03-15 Published:2015-03-15
  • Contact: SANG Biao, E-mail:


Social withdrawal refers to the process whereby children remove themselves from opportunities for peer interaction and frequently display solitary behaviors in social contexts. Unsociability or social disinterest, which is one subtype of social withdrawal, refers to the non-fearful preference for solitary activities. It should be noted that unsociability is not necessarily related with emotional adjustment difficulties in individualistic societies such as Canada and USA. However, the definition of adaptive value of specific social behavior varies from culture to culture. For example, unsociability is associated with social, emotional, and school problems in collectivistic societies such as China. Future studies should be aimed at making more comprehensive designs, examining interactions between age and culture, conducting direct comparisons in different cultures, exploring culture-related risk and protective factors, and highlighting impact of the Internet.

Key words: unsociability, social withdrawal, adjustment functioning, cultural differences