Teens today are less lonely but have fewer friends than teens did twenty years ago a study conducted between 1991 and 2012 found. The research was published in this month's Personality and Psychology Bulletin. Did you forget to renew your subscription?

The 2012 teens felt less isolated and less left out than the 1991 teens, but that their "social network isolation" had been amplified. Cripes!

"Historically people had to rely on others more," lead researcher David Clark wrote in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail. "Modern times may foster independence. If you are in a situation where you need help from friends if you get sick, you may feel that you need a number of close friends. But if you are economically well off, you may need less practical support and you may be satisfied with less friends."

Teens are less likely now to join things, the study found, as emphasis on individual success continues to grow.

But! All is not lost. "They may have greater quality friendships. They may have less need for [more] friends," Clark wrote. "Belonging is one of the strongest human motivations. This research is some good news on this front."

The teens are probably all right. They usually are.

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