9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN11 Sociology of Emotions

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Surveying Emotions Building II, C6.09

The "Unfinished Sentences" Technique in Studying the Loneliness Phenomenon

The inquiry of more than 140 people was conducted in the research of loneliness by the "unfinished sentences" technique. As a result 2550 elementary explanations - concluded sentences were obtained. The components of lonely man image were revealed for further description and interpretation. The analysis of verbal categories was carried out during the first stage. Subsequently, the determinants were sorted out and the components were constructed. The comparison of 10 components` weights of a lonely person image shows that the dominant ones are: "Characteristics of a Lonely Person", "Communication", "Reasons for Loneliness". Consequently, these components get the most attention from respondents when it comes to discussion of loneliness phenomenon. These three components make up the nucleus of a lonely person image:
Component Absolute weight Percentage %
Characteristics of a lonely person 586 28,13
Communication 346,25 16,52
Reasons for loneliness 281,8 13,53
Attitude towards a lonely person 243,1 11,57
Actions, behaviour of a lonely person 221,55 10,64
Sense of loneliness 114 5,47
Alone 104,85 5,03
The lonely one is given 87,1 4,18
Anyone can feel lonely 61,4 2,85
No answer or not clear 25,8 1,24
I´ve never felt lonely 17,5 0,84
Total 2083,1 100

The component "Characteristics of a Lonely Person" provides an idea of properties and personality traits, peculiarities in behavior and disposition of lonely people as well as their temperament. The "Communication" component is composed of nine elements that somehow characterize the process of lonely people communication. The fact that communication provides satisfaction and the necessary relief that a lonely person strives for is proved by the element "Readiness to Communication" which is the most substantial in the given component and underlines the importance of communication for lonely people. The elements of the component "Reasons for Loneliness": "beloved", "friends", "close ones", "relatives, members of the family, spouses" show that the reason for loneliness might be absence or loss of close ones, or break-up.
One of the essential advantages of the "unfinished sentences" technique is that one can resort to textual data unlimited number of times. Other interpretations are possible providing regrouping of elementary explanations.