Social Isolation Experienced by Youth in Social Withdrawal: Toward an Interdisciplinary Analysis and Practice

Victor C W Wong, John Yuen, Xuebing Su, Jolene Yung

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter offers a critical analysis of social isolation experienced by youth in social withdrawal, who lead a hermetic way of life characterized by self-isolation or seclusion by retreating themselves at home from the rest of the world for a protracted period of time. The alienating experience of social withdrawal is defined with reference to four parameters, namely, time, place, social relations, and social status. By using these parameters, helping professionals can distinguish those who are in the state of social withdrawal at home from those who are not and map out the directions and context that NGOs and helping professionals have to thoroughly address if social isolation is to be overcome and reengagement of secluded youth is to be achieved. By conducting thorough literature review and using relevant empirical data drawn from the first author’s studies and a longitudinal cohort study of secluded youth in Hong Kong, the authors argue that it is important to start where they are and deliver both home-based and community-based interventions so as to give them an enabling environment where they can cultivate a sense of agency and a sense of expectancy for making a breakthrough against social isolation with the support of interdisciplinary research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Isolation - An Interdisciplinary View
EditorsRosalba Morese, Sara Palermo, Raffaella Fiorella
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781838804268
ISBN (Print)9781789847598, 9781789847581
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2019

User-Defined Keywords

  • social isolation
  • social withdrawal
  • home-based intervention
  • community-based intervention
  • youth
  • enabling environment
  • expectancy


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