Loneliness is not a homogeneous experience: An empirical analysis of adaptive and maladaptive forms of loneliness in the UK

YPSILANTI, Antonia and LAZURAS, Lambros (2022). Loneliness is not a homogeneous experience: An empirical analysis of adaptive and maladaptive forms of loneliness in the UK. Psychiatry Research, 312: 114571.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2022.114571


Understanding loneliness is pivotal to informing relevant evidence-based preventive interventions. The present study examined the prevalence of loneliness in the UK, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the association between loneliness, mental health outcomes, and risk and protective factors for loneliness, after controlling for the effects of social isolation. It was estimated that 18.1% of the population in our study experienced moderately high to very high loneliness. We also found that loneliness was positively associated with self-disgust and social inhibition, and negatively associated with trait optimism and hope. Cluster analysis indicated that two distinct groups emerged among those experiencing higher levels of loneliness: “adaptive” and “maladaptive” loneliness groups. The maladaptive loneliness group displayed psychological characteristics like self-disgust and social inhibition including symptoms of depression and anxiety that can potentially undermine their ability to connect with others and form meaningful social relationships. These findings suggest that not all people experience loneliness in the same way. It is possible that a one-size-fit-all approach to reducing loneliness, may be less effective because it does not take into account the differential psychological profiles and characteristics of lonely people, relevant to their capacity to connect with others.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical and Health Sciences; 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences; Psychiatry
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2022.114571
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 10 May 2022 13:46
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 12:16
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/30210

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