“She’s Surrounded by Loved Ones, but Feeling Alone”: A Relational Approach to Loneliness

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

“She’s Surrounded by Loved Ones, but Feeling Alone”: A Relational Approach to Loneliness


  • Hugo Valenzuela-Garcia Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain / Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Research, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Miranda J. Lubbers Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Jose Luis Molina Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain


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Abstract:  Loneliness poses one of the significant problems of our modern post‐industrial societies. Current research on loneliness has been developed primarily by psychology, biomedicine, nursing, and other health‐related disciplines, showing a surprising number of variables and risk factors involved in the experience of loneliness, along with positive correlations with premature mortality and morbidity. However, most of these analyses overlook the social interactions and context in which loneliness is experienced. Drawing on a subsample (N = 24) of Spanish “mothers” from impoverished families, the article proposes a mixed‐method approach (both relational and interpretative) that may potentially complement quantitative approaches, showing relational and contextual factors that may contribute to a better understanding of the subjective dimension of loneliness.

Keywords:  loneliness; mothers; poverty; social support; Spain

Published:   15 December 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v9i4.4585


© Hugo Valenzuela‐Garcia, Miranda J. Lubbers, Jose Luis Molina. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.