Corresponding Author Information: Kathleen Tully
Session Abstract: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Many studies on loneliness have focused on chronic, trait loneliness that is stable across time. These studies do not address the fluctuations that occur on a day-to-day basis and how those fluctuations affect mood. Further, no studies thus far have linked clinical dimensions of personality to daily loneliness and daily negative affect. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the effects of pathological personality traits on daily loneliness and daily negative affect.
HYPOTHESES: There will be a statistically significant positive association between greater daily feelings of loneliness and greater daily negative affect. There will be an indirect effect of elevated trait negative affectivity in the relationship between high daily loneliness and high daily negative affect. There will be an indirect effect of elevated trait detachment in the relationship between low daily loneliness and high daily negative affect. There will be an indirect effect of elevated trait psychoticism in the relationship between high daily loneliness and high daily negative affect
SUBJECTS: Participants were 150 undergraduate students from a large, urban northeastern university. The sample was predominantly female (77.4%) and ethnically diverse (23.1% White, 22.5% Black, 27.3% Asian, 10.10% Hispanic, 10.7% Middle Eastern or Indian, 6.3% Other).
METHOD AND MATERIALS: Participants filled out an initial battery of questionnaires on day 1 of the study. Then on days 2-7, the participants filled out daily surveys about the degree to which they felt loneliness and negative affect.
ANALYSES: PROCESS macro was used to model the serial mediating effect of trait negative affectivity, trait detachment, and trait psychoticism and on the relationship between daily loneliness and daily negative affect.
RESULTS: Daily loneliness was directly related to daily negative affect. In a mediation model, there was a significant indirect effect of greater daily negative affect via greater trait negative affectivity. Further, there was a significant indirect effect of greater daily negative affect via greater trait psychoticism. However, there was not an indirect effect of trait detachment on daily negative affect.
CONCLUSIONS: Pathological traits are the bridge between whether daily loneliness is experienced with daily negative affect. When people feel high negative affect with loneliness, it is partially due to high trait negative affectivity. Trait psychoticism taps into the extent to which some people experience the world differently than others, which they may find to be isolating. This isolation was found to have a negative effect on their emotions. One limitation of this study is that participants did not endorse high amounts of daily loneliness or daily negative affect, which may have restricted the results of the study. Future researchers may additionally want to examine the level of personality functioning for participants.
Kathleen Tully | Long Island University Brooklyn, New York