Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert M. Oswald

Second Advisor

Dr. Malcolm Robertson

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Betz


The major purposes of this study were to identify the lonely among graduate students, the types and degree of loneliness they experience, and the possible variables associated with graduate student loneliness. The Belcher Extended Loneliness Scale (BELS), and a second questionnaire about the causes of loneliness, were administered to 337 graduate students in 23 classes at Western Michigan University (WMU).

The BELS identified two types of loneliness that some graduate students experience as well as 104 significant differences which were found to relate mostly to an unspecified type of loneliness. The following variables were found to be very important in the development of graduate student loneliness: marital status, satisfaction with living situation, perceived amount of loneliness, relationship with mother, amount able to rely on both parents, familiarity with neighbors, satisfaction with number and quality of friendships, having no one to talk to, having no spouse or lover, not being needed, feeling different from everyone else, having a mentor who is available, respectful, and who will go out of his/her way for the student.

Implications based upon validated research findings were discussed. Finally, some suggestions for future empirical studies on loneliness among graduate students were indicated.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Counseling Commons