Humans are "social animals" and typically do not like to be on their own too much. People like to hang out and connect with other people. People that lack that connection are called lonely.

More formally, loneliness can be defined as "the exceedingly unpleasant and driving experience connected with inadequate discharge of need for human intimacy" (Sulivan, 1953, p.290). For a more recent review, see Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999.

Interesting video about loneliness by the psychologist John Cacioppo on YouTube. Click here to watch.
Did you know that loneliness and shyness are related? Check also our shyness survey.

An interesting point that Cacioppo in the video makes is that loneliness functions as a "pain signal". Social connections are so important for our survival, that we have an internal social loneliness signal that tells us that something is wrong with us that we need to do something about.

The University of the Philipines Loneliness Assessment Scale (Tharayil, 2012) is one of the newest instruments to measure loneliness. It has 25 Likert items. Its special advantage over other scales is that has been tested on people in many countries (i.e., it is cross-culturally valid).

The average normative score among married and non-married people is 44. Note that the score can range from 25 (low) to 100 (high).

Run the demo

It seems that the UPLAS can be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (References).


This is a simple scale question with some reverse coded items.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: agree
- Strongly Disagree
- Disagree
- Agree
- Strongly Agree

l: uplas
t: scale agree
o: boxes
q: The statements given below are to identify the way you think and
Please read each item carefully and check your response that best
describes what you feel and think.<br>
Thank you.<br>
- I feel that I am always being left alone.
- I feel that I am misunderstood.
- I feel that others reject me.
- I sense that people are not interested in making friends with me.
- {reverse} I feel happy for who I am.
- I feel that nobody likes me.
- I don’t have a meaningful relationship with people.
- I pity myself.
- I feel that nobody appreciates me.
- {reverse} I am happy for myself.
- I am dissatisfied with my relationships.
- I feel alone even in a group.
- I feel hopeless about the misfortunes of my life.
- I feel worthless.
- {reverse} I am satisfied with my life.
- I have no confidence to get involved in relationships.
- I feel that others always look at my faults.
- I feel that I am a failure in life.
- I feel disconnected with people.
- {reverse} I feel that my life is meaningful.
- I usually think of sad things in life.
- I am helpless when I think about the future.
- I feel inadequate when it comes to relationships.
- I feel empty even if I do many things.
- {reverse} I feel confident about the future.

l: uplas_score
t: set
- sum $uplas

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your score is {$uplas}.<br>
Score can range from 25 to 100.<br>
The average score in the population is 44.<br>


  • Tharayil, D.P. (2012). Developing the University of the Philippines Loneliness Assessment Scale: A Cross-Cultural Measurement. Social Indicators Research, 106 (2), 307-321.

  • Sullivan, H. S. (1953). The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: WW. Norton. (definition on p.260, as cited in Tharayil).

  • Ernst, J.M. & Cacippo, J.T. (1999). Lonely hearts: Psychological perspectives on loneliness. Applied & Preventative Psychology, 8 (1), 1-22.

  • Interesting paper about loneliness and shyness