Loneliness and its Associated Risk Factors Among in-School Adolescents in Tanzania: Cross-Sectional Analyses of the Global School-Based Health Survey Data


Though considered a normal part of adolescent development, loneliness is a mental state that can result in considerable psychological distress. We examined the prevalence and risk factors for loneliness among in-school adolescents in Tanzania. This was a descriptive cross-sectional study of 2,449 in-school adolescents from Tanzania using data from the 2017 Global School-Based Health Survey. Frequencies, percentages, Chi-square, and binary logistic regression were used in analysing the data. The prevalence of loneliness was 17.4%. Adolescents in forms 1 and 2 were more likely to be lonely than those in grade 6–7. Adolescents who experienced hunger and anxiety, used tobacco, were truant, and engaged in a physical fight had higher risks of being lonely. The prevalence of loneliness among in-school adolescents in Tanzania is quite high. As a mental state, the drastic long-term effects of loneliness on its victims make it imperative for stakeholders in Tanzania’s health industry to plan and implement pragmatic innovative social support programmes and counselling support units in schools. This can ensure the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 target of improving mental health by the year 2030.

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Data Availability

The data used to support the findings of this study are available to the public at https://www.who.int/ncds/surveillance/gshs/tanzaniadataset/en/



Adjusted odds ratios


Crude odds ratios


Sustainable Development Goal


Tanzania Global School-Based Health Survey


World Health Organization


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Abdul-Aziz Seidu conceived and performed the analysis. Hubert Amu and Abdul-Aziz Seidu wrote the first draft of the manuscript. Hubert Amu, Abdul-Aziz Seidu, Wonder Agbemavi, Bright Opoku Ahinkorah, Edward Kwabena Ameyaw, Abigail Amoah, Louis Kobina Dadzie, and Kwaku Kissah-Korsah revised the manuscript for intellectual content. All authors have read, gave consent, and approved the final manuscript for publication. All authors have also agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

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Correspondence to Hubert Amu.

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Amu, H., Seidu, AA., Agbemavi, W. et al. Loneliness and its Associated Risk Factors Among in-School Adolescents in Tanzania: Cross-Sectional Analyses of the Global School-Based Health Survey Data. Psychol Stud 65, 536–542 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12646-020-00580-w

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  • Adolescents
  • Loneliness
  • Tanzania
  • Mental health
  • Prevalence
  • Risk factors
  • In-school