Chinese Adults Believe that Only Children Are Lonely. But Chinese Young Adults Who Are Only Children Report Less Loneliness than Young Adults with Siblings




Lin, Shengjie
Falbo, Toni
Qu, Wen
Wang, Yidan
Feng, Xiaotian

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University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center



A common stereotype about only children in China is that they are lonelier than children who grow up with siblings. However, little research has documented whether large numbers of Chinese actually believe in this stereotype and whether the stereotype is even true for youth. PRC graduate student trainees Shengjie Lin and Yidan Wang, along with faculty scholar Toni Falbo, and colleagues found that young Chinese adults do indeed believe that only children experience more loneliness than those who grew up with siblings. But this belief does not match the reality in which youths with siblings report more loneliness than only children. The mismatch between stereotype and reality points to the need for counseling professionals, among others, to check their only-child-as-lonely biases and instead focus on the reality of the issues facing their clients.

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