Conversational involvement and loneliness

Robert A Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations


The relationship of conversational involvement to loneliness was assessed. Sixty chronically lonely and 60 nonlonely people were selected from a pool of 968 college students with known loneliness scores. Each participant had a 10-minute, videotaped, “get acquainted” conversation with an opposite-sex “partner.” Afterwards, participants recalled as many details of their conversations as possible. Participants and partners completed measures of communication satisfaction, liking, and desires for future interaction and friendship. They also rated participants’ levels of conversational involvement. The involvement construct was operationalized with nine involvement behaviors, coded from the videotapes, and five cognitive involvement variables, derivedfrom comparisons of the memory protocols to transcripts of the conversations. Lonely participants had lower rates of talkativeness, interruptions, vocal back-channels, and attention than nonlonely participants. They were also perceived as less involved and less interpersonally attractive. Implications for studies of loneliness and conversational involvement are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-235
Number of pages18
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Conversational involvement and loneliness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this