Unravelling the Paradox of Solitude

The Costs and Consequences of Spending Time Alone in Childhood and Adolescence

Professor Robert J. Coplan will discuss recent advances in the psychological study of solitude. Over the course of the lifespan, humans spend time alone for many different reasons and subjectively respond to solitude with a wide range of reactions and consequences. This presentation will focus on the underlying mechanisms that appear to link time alone to aspects of wellbeing in childhood and adolescence, as well as mitigating facrtors that may serve to amplify or attenuate the potential costs and benefits of solitude. 


Robert J. Coplan is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) and Director of the Pickering Centre for Research in Human Development. His general research interests are in the areas of children’s socio-emotional functioning and developmental psychopathology. In particular, he has explored the development of shyness, social withdrawal, and social anxiety in childhood. Current research projects focus on the costs and benefits of solitude, the challenges faced by shy and anxious children at school, and the meaning and implications of social withdrawal across different cultures. His recent books include Quiet at School: An Educator’s Guide to Shy Children and The Handbook of Solitude: Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal, and Being Alone. More information about Robert Coplan can be found at robertcoplan.com


Published Oct. 16, 2019 11:28 AM - Last modified Apr. 21, 2022 9:27 AM