Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Counseling and Human Development

First Advisor

Staci Born


Adolescence, COVID, Hope, Pandemic, Social Isolation


Social isolation is often divided into two subcategories of objective and subjective. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in objective social isolation in the form of social distancing and fewer social events. Research delineating the relationship between social isolation and adolescent well-being utilize measures of subjective social isolation. Whereas, measures of objective social isolation are more commonly used with geriatric populations. Therefore, there is a lack of information specific to the impact of objective social isolation on adolescent well-being, particularly during a pandemic. The effects of social isolation due to COVID-19 will not be short lived. Deciphering the relationship between adolescent social isolation, hope, and well-being will not only shed light on a gap in the literature but also identify techniques and approaches that may mitigate the effects of this pandemic for adolescents. The present study sought to examine the relationship between adolescents’ experience of social isolation and hope as well as the moderating effect of hope on the relationship between social isolation and well-being in adolescents. Our study used a convenient sample of adolescents who responded to social media posts and emails from their school counselors. From our sample we collected demographic and pandemic information as well as self-reports of hope, strengths and difficulties, and both subjective and objective social isolation. Our final sample consisted of 41 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 14. Bivariate correlations and hierarchical regression analyses were used to assess the significance of our research questions. Our results revealed that higher hope scores were related to less subjective social isolation. Greater levels of subjective social isolation predicted higher scores of internalizing symptoms. Whereas, greater levels of objective social isolation predicted higher externalizing scores. Within our study, there was no moderating effect of hope found on the relationship of social isolation and well-being in adolescence. Our study has found significant and measurable effects of the pandemic on adolescents in our community. To mitigate the effects of this pandemic, we posit that adolescent health/service providers consider utilizing compassion, understanding, and empathy in response to increased internalizing and externalizing symptoms to encourage hope and connection.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Social isolation -- Psychological aspects.
Social interaction in adolescence -- Psychological aspects.
Teenagers -- Mental health.
Teenagers -- Social conditions.
COVID-19 (Disease)
Social psychology.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright