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Paper Topic:

social isolation

Social Isolation

Social isolation is the lack of social interactions and relationships with other people . An individual or a group of individuals who are socially isolated experience aloneness resulting to the absence of contact and communication . Their defining characteristics include insecurity in public , sad , uncommunicative , withdrawn , no eye contact seek to be alone or exist in subculture , preoccupied with own thoughts project hostility in voice and behavior , express feelings of rejection express feelings of difference from others , express feeling of aloneness imposed by others and express values acceptable to subculture but

unable to accept values of the dominant culture . Due to these characteristics they are prone to these risk factors : unaccepted social behavior unaccepted social values , inability to engage in satisfying personal relationships , delay in accomplishing developmental tasks , alterations in mental status , altered state of wellness , immature interests , and alterations in physical appearance (zetatalk .com


Socialization is what social isolation deprives people . Socialization is the lifelong social experience by which individuals develop human potential and learn patterns of their culture ' In to survive in a society of cultures , social experience is essential to a human being because it is through this that people learn about the society by imitation , rewards and discipline , and from conscious instruction as well as unconscious approval and disapproval . It also defines personality or the way people think , feel and act . The development of personality happens as people participate in culture and as they sink in to their social surroundings (Macionis 121 . People socialize through family , school , peer groups and mass media . Being detached from these agents can cause serious damage on human development especially in shaping emotions , thoughts and behavior . Social isolation can be perceived and achieved in different manners : physically , socially and psychologically

Social Isolation on Children

Social isolation on children has tragic effects because of the consequences of being deprived of social experience . One of the extreme cases of social isolation is of a girl named Anna in Pennsylvania . For five years , she was kept in a second-floor storage room of her grandfather with essentially no human contact . The only attention she got was when it was time for her to be fed by milk just enough to keep her alive . Her mother was a 26-year old unmarried and mentally impaired woman who lived with her stern father . She was discovered by a social worker wedged into a chair with her arms tied above her head . She was very weak and emaciated . Unable to laugh , smile , speak or even show anger , she was completely unresponsive , as if alone in an empty world (Macionis 121

Ten days after her discovery , Anna showed notable changes . She was more attentive and even smiled . Her progress went on gradual but steady She started to show interest in other people and she learned how to walk . It was only until she was ten , thought , that she started to use words . More observations of her were hindered though by her death . She died of a blood disease when she was ten years old

Another case of extreme social isolation on children is of another girl named Genie . For eleven years , she was tied naked into a chair and locked in a dark garage in California . She was discovered in 1970 and like Anna , she was emaciated and she was unable to perform basic actions of a thirteen-year-old girl . Her improvement was gradual but tremendous after receiving intensive therapy from professionals . But she didn 't manage to develop her language ability seemingly a permanent damaged caused by her long years of social isolation . Until now she is staying in a home for developmentally disabled adults (Macionis 124

The experiences of these two individuals clearly show how crucial the role of social experience is to human development , specifically to personality . Although they showed signs of recovery , there are still irreparable damages left to the development of these individuals

Agents of Socialization

What socially isolated people are denied of are the social experiences that shape a person and his personality . In the process of socialization , there are four essential agents that a socially isolated person lacked or is lacking

The Family

Being dependent on others , children have the family as the core of their lives . In to meet their needs , they rely on their family It is the family where children learn or develop their basic skills cultural values and attitudes . How the family members treat the children can be a determining factor on how the children will act or treat others as they expand their social network . Being the children 's earliest environment , this is where they learn their status in society in terms of race , ethnicity , religion and class which later on will be a part of their self-concept . Language and communication skills are also what children develop during their first years in the family


As children start schooling , their social world expands . They begin to gain awareness of other people and the diversity of society . This is also where they gain academic knowledge and skills . Some of the cultural values that the family was not able to provide the children are conveyed in schools formally and informally . Competition and success are taught through various activities in the school . This is also the point where children are socialized into their gender roles where males are expected to engage in physical activities , females are expected to be sedentary

The Peer Group

The peer group is a social group whose members have interests , social position and age in common (Macionis 134 . This is where children create social relationships without the bureaucracy of school and the control of adults from the family . It is during the adolescent stage that children appreciate the importance of peer group because of the sense of belonging that eases apprehension as they started to move away from the confines of family

The Mass Media

From the word mass this agent conveys information in a mass dimension through newss , television , radio and the internet . Through this people get in touch with the society by entertaining and educational programming brought about by news and other forms of mass media . It is important to note also that this agent has a massive effect on the behavior and attitudes of people today . Children spend more time in television and computer than in school and even in interacting with the family and peers . One concern of researchers is that television causes children to be more passive and less imaginative . Another issue that concern critics is about the sex and violence portrayed through the mass media

Personality Diss

Aside from being physically isolated from society by another person or group of persons , social isolation is also the result or symptom of some psychological issues . Several personality diss implicate social isolation as a component of the syndrome such as Avoidant personality dis and Schizoid personality dis

People with personality dis , or character dis , have problems with relationships with others , in their ability to manage urges , in managing the intensity and duration of emotions in appropriate situations and in their perception and interpretation of self and other people

Avoidant personality dis is characterized by an apparent avoidance of social situations and close interpersonal involvements . People who are diagnosed with avoidant personality dis have excessive fear of rejection and criticism by others and that they choose social isolation as a way to avoid this . They are socially withdrawn , with great anxiety about being around with other people , extremely shy , distrustful and emotionally distant . They have a tendency to be very careful when talking and they express a sense of uneasiness in their actions

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diss (DSM-IV-TR ) there are seven diagnostic criteria for avoidant personality dis

The person avoids occupational activities that require significant interpersonal relationships

The person is reluctant to participate in social involvement without clear assurance that they will be accepted

The person fears being shamed or ridiculed in close relationships

The person is preoccupied with being criticized of rejected

The person is inhibited in unfamiliar social situations due to feelings of inadequacy

The person regards him or herself as socially inept

The person is reluctant to take social risks ( HYPERLINK "http /www .minddiss .com " www .minddiss .com

Schizoid is another personality dis that takes social isolation as one of its symptoms . People who are diagnosed with this dis are generally loners without close family relationships and social contacts They rarely show strong emotions and they prefer to be alone . They seem to be aloof and humorless and they are often disregarded in social settings

Symptoms of schizoid personality dis include

Emotional coldness or aloofness

Indifference to praise or criticism and the feelings of others

Close friendships with no more than one or two people , including family members

Social withdrawal , or continual avoidance of social activities

Flattened emotions or lack of expressivity

Inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia

General feeling of discomfort or restlessness (dysphoria

Having little to say

Lack of motivation or persistence (avolition

Tendency toward underperformance in school or work settings ( HYPERLINK "http /www .mayoclinic .com " www .mayoclinic .com

Suicide and Homicide among college students

One of the most alarming issues today is the participation of youth to suicide and homicide , from which one is the Virginia Tech massacre . The urban areas of the United States have the highest rate of homicide frequency of around 6 .1 per 100 ,000 . In 2005 , 10 .6 of the reported homicides involve youths aging 17 to 24 . The school is considered one of the safest places for youth and this issue on violence involving youth and school is just disturbing

Another significant problem that needs to be addressed is suicide among youth . Suicide in general is the 11th of the main causes of deaths in the US . It is the 2nd main cause of death among youth aging 25-34 years old while the 3rd leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds . On the average , there are 89 suicides per day in the US . Of all the deaths among 15 to 24 year olds , 12 .9 of this is of suicide cause

Researchers provide a trend in the suicidal tendencies of youth . As it is a substantial problem during the high school years , it increases among young adults aging from 20 to 24 and continue to intensify over the next 20 years of life . In the age group of 15 to 19 years old , the suicide rate is 7 .95 /100 ,000 . For the 20 to 24 age group , it is 11 .97 /100 ,000 . For the 25 to 29 age group , the rate is 12 .56 /100 ,000 HYPERLINK "http /www .cdc .gov " www .cdc .gov

According to researches , homicidal or suicidal tendencies can be traced to the person 's social and psychological background or sometimes history in the family . One research says that a person whose parent suffers from serious mental illness has the tendency to be suicidal or homicidal . Among college students , the main culprit is depression and hopelessness . Isolation or a feeling of being cut off from other people , impulsive of aggressive tendencies , personality diss and history of child abuse are also considered risk factors for suicide

Virginia Tech Massacre and Cho Seung-Hui

Virginia Tech massacre is the deadliest school shooting in the history of the United States . The suspect , a South Korean named Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 people and wounded others before committing suicide . It happened inside the Virginia Tech campus on April 16 , 20007

What propelled Cho in doing this act may be rooted from his social and psychological background . Socially , he was aloof and somewhat uninvited to be a part of the social because of some of his behaviors . He has a history of severe anxiety dis which was diagnosed and treated when he was still in the middle school . He continued with the therapy until junior high school . He also was declared mentally ill after being accused of stalking two female students in his college

Although he moved to the United States at the age of eight , being in a society with a culture very different from his native country , he might have suffered from a rough transition that he didn 't manage to survive His anxiety , depression and isolation were the factors that pushed Cho in this act of violence . As what was discussed above , sense of belongingness and social connectedness are the things that social isolation deprives people like Cho

Works Cited

Avoidant personality dis ' Encyclopedia of Mental Diss 2007 . Advameg Inc . 8 January 2008

Macionis , John J . Sociology Seventh Edition . New Jersey : Prentice Hall 1999

Schwartz Allan Shame and Avoidant Personality Dis ' Ozark Guidance : Focused on you Mental Health . 8 January 2008

Schizoid Personality Dis ' Mayo Clinic .Com Tools for Healthier Lives . 8 December 2006 . Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research . 8 January 2008

Suicide Prevention ' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . 6 December 2007 . Department of Health and Human Services . 8 January 2008 Troubled Times : Social Isolation ' 8 January 2008

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