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Loneliness and Anxiety Sensitivity: Understanding Behavioural Avoidance in the Lonely

The current study investigated the putative relationship between loneliness and anxiety sensitivity (AS. Socially embedded, normal, and lonely participants (N=308) completed 4 reliable and valid measures, Revised UCLA loneliness scale, the State- Trait Anxiety Inventory Trait scale (STAI-T), Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI), and Fear Questionnaire (FQ). A positive relationship between loneliness and AS was found. After controlling for trait anxiety, AS predicted group differences between the lonely and normal, however this difference was not found between the lonely and socially embedded groups. Avoidance produced a significant multivariate main effect but did not predict group differences after controlling for trait anxiety and AS. It was concluded that avoidance in lonely individuals may be due partially to an enhanced sensitivity to the physiological symptoms of anxiety (AS) elicited distinctively within social contexts. Future research utilising multidimensional models of loneliness and attachment measures are suggested.


Renu Narchal

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