Identiﬁcation of a Suitable Short-form of the UCLA-Loneliness
Faculty of Health, Arts, and Design, Swinburne University of Technology
Objective: The current study aimed to identify the most statistically appropriate short-form of the UCLA-Loneliness Scale (LS). This was
intended to provide researchers and practitioners with a measure that reduces the burden on participants and measures a unidimensional
model of loneliness in accordance with the theory proposed by Russell.
Method: Eight short-forms of the UCLA-LS were assessed in two undergraduate samples (N = 552, 206). Students were from a metropolitan
Australian university and completed online surveys.
Results: One-, two-, and three-factor (i.e., an overall loneliness factor, and two method factors representing positively and negatively scored
items) models of the original 20-item UCLA-LS provided poor model ﬁt. One 10-item short-form provided adequate model ﬁt in both samples.
However, all conﬁgurations of the measure were generally internally consistent and displayed convergent validity. Greater loneliness was sig-
niﬁcantly associated with reduced social wellbeing, positive affect, life satisfaction, vitality, and psychological wellbeing, and increased nega-
Conclusions: It is recommended that a 10-item short-form is used in future applications. This short-form displayed similar internal consist-
ency and convergent validity as the 20-item measure despite being half as long, and provided superior model ﬁt.
Key words: affect; belonging; isolation; loneliness; undergraduate; wellbeing.
What is already known on this topic
1 Loneliness has negative implications for mental
health and wellbeing.
2 The UCLA-Loneliness Scale (LS) is a widely used
measure of loneliness.
3 Research has found little support for the pro-
posed unidimensional structure of the UCLA-LS.
What this paper adds
1 A review of previous research suggests that there are concerns with the
factorial validity of the original 20-item UCLA-LS.
2 The ﬁndings indicate that a 10-item short-form is similarly reliable and valid
as the original 20-item scale while also displaying superior model ﬁt.
3 Therefore, the 10-item short-form should reduce the burden on respon-
dents while providing a statistically better alternative to the original scale.
The UCLA-Loneliness Scale (UCLA-LS; Russell, 1996) has
become one of the most widely used measures of loneliness
(Dussault, Fernet, Austin, & Leroux, 2009). The measure com-
prises 20 items, which have consistently displayed a high level
of convergent validity and internal consistency. However, the
results for factorial validity have been mixed. This suggests that
the measure may include items that are not assessing a unidi-
mensional conceptualisation of loneliness as deﬁned by Russell
and colleagues (see Russell, 1996 for a review; see also Osha-
gen & Allen, 1992). The purpose of the current study is to
assess the factorial validity of the UCLA-LS, but importantly, to
provide the ﬁrst comparison of the various short-forms of the
measure. This is intended to identify a short-form of the most
recent version of the UCLA-LS (Russell, 1996), which provides
good model ﬁt, and reliability and convergent validity that
accords with the original measure. This will provide researchers
with the most statistically viable alternative to the 20-item
UCLA-LS, which should also measure a unidimensional model
of loneliness as suggested by Russell (1996). The additional
beneﬁt of a short-form is that reducing the overall length of a
survey can reduce the burden on participants, improving the
quality of data (Cook, Heath, & Thompson, 2000).
Background of the UCLA-LS
Throughout the various iterations of the UCLA-LS (Russell,
1996; Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, 1980; Russell, Peplau, & Fer-
guson, 1978), it has been maintained that loneliness is a unidi-
mensional construct. In developing the most recent version of
the UCLA-LS, Russell (1996) assessed one-, two- (i.e., separate
Correspondence: Brad Elphinstone, Faculty of Health, Arts, and Design,
Swinburne University of Technology, Mail H31, PO Box 218, Hawthorn,
VIC 3122, Australia.
Accepted for publication 17 March 2017
Australian Psychologist 53 (2018) 107–115
© 2017 The Australian Psychological Society