Self-disgust, loneliness and mental health outcomes in older adults: An eye-tracking study

YPSILANTI, Antonia, ROBSON, A., LAZURAS, L., POWELL, P.A. and OVERTON, P.G. (2020). Self-disgust, loneliness and mental health outcomes in older adults: An eye-tracking study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 266, 646-654.

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© 2020 Background: Self-disgust has been associated with loneliness and mental health difficulties in clinical and non-clinical populations, but there is limited research on the role of self-disgust in loneliness and mental health outcomes in older adults. Methods: In Study 1 (N = 102; M age = 68.4 years, SD = 10.9, 68% females) we used a cross-sectional survey to explore the association between loneliness, self-disgust and mental health outcomes. In Study 2 (N = 80; M age = 68.8 years, SD = 11.4, 57% females) we used eye-tracking to investigate attentional vigilance, maintenance and avoidance in individuals with high (vs. low) self-disgust. Results: In study 1 we found that self-disgust mediated the associations of loneliness with anxiety and depressive symptoms, and in study 2 it was demonstrated that older adults with high (vs. low) self-disgust displayed attentional avoidance to their own faces, compared to the faces of unknown others, a process that may perpetuate loneliness. Limitations: The cross-sectional design used in Study 1 limits our potential to make causal inferences. Additionally, both studies included a wide age range of older adults. Conclusions: Our findings are novel and highlight the importance of self-disgust experiences in the context of loneliness and mental health outcomes in older adults. Implications for practice and interventions against loneliness in this age group are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anxiety; Attentional avoidance; Depression; Eye-tracking; Loneliness; Self-disgust; 11 Medical and Health Sciences; 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences; Psychiatry
Identification Number:
Page Range: 646-654
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2020 16:19
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 16:00

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