In the News: The role of social isolation in crime

Professor Shelley Hymel comments on the role of social isolation and “loners” in response to the tragic shooting at a Newtown, Conneticut elementary school.

Read an excerpt from the December 18, 2012 story by Fabiola Carletti for CBC.ca below:

Shelley Hymel, a professor at the University of British Columbia who studies child and social development, agrees that solitude, in and of itself, should not be viewed as a problem.

“In some cases it’s healthy,” she told CBC News, adding that being alone and reflecting is key to identity development. “Some of our loners are amazing.”

Hymel points to luminaries that, by today’s standards, would appear socially withdrawn, isolated or rejected — people such as composer Ludwig van Beethoven, writer Rudyard Kipling, philosopher Immanuel Kant and physicist Albert Einstein.

“We should not jump at the assumption that there’s something wrong with every kid that prefers to be alone,” she said.

In a peer-reviewed paper on the consequences of childhood rejection, Hymel and her co-authors note that a critical point is whether an individual chooses to be alone and uses that alone time constructively and whether they have some affiliations and social ties.

Read the full story at CBC.ca here.