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Social Isolation

Research papers exploring the impact of social isolation on children report that, overall, there is a paucity of information on the Social Isolation. It seems that when it comes to understanding children that socially isolate themselves, while psychologists know that this is typically a response to trauma or violence, a limited amount of research regarding childhood trauma has ever been undertaken. According to Falasca and Caulfield:

Social IsolationThere are examples from the beginning of recorded history that children have suffered from trauma.  However, until recently, there has been little or no recorded evidence of the effects of violence and trauma on children.  That is, although instances of violence have been cited in the literature, the follow-up and the impact associated with such trauma have been left to the imagination.  One can reasonably assume that if violence or the threat of violence, or both, were directed at a child then that child would react in some way, and that the child’s sense of safety and trust would be influenced.

Given this reality it is difficult to predict why children choose to isolate themselves and why this isolation often leads to school violence or suicide. Although the research above does not provide any insight into why children choose to isolate themselves, it does give rise to the reality that if a child has made the decision to isolate him or herself, there is something that is wrong.  The National Mental Health and Education Center reports that one of the quintessential signs that a child may be depressed is isolation: “social isolation and poor communication” are touted as one of the predominate way for parents to know that their child is depressed".  Whether the cause is school bullying or some other form of abuse, for parents, the key is to first recognize that there is a problem.  Once this has been accomplished, parents can deal with the larger task of finding the root cause of the child’s depression.

Understanding that isolation is one of the most important elements to addressing the issue of depression is a reality that has been widely explored in the literature.  One only needs to read a poem or a novel to acknowledge that the association between social isolation and suicide are almost symbiotic.

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