Predictors of Loneliness in a Sample of College Men and Women in Cyprus: The Role of Anxiety and Social Skills

Georgia Panayiotou, Maria Panteli, Marios Theodorou

Abstract


Aim: This investigation examined the association between social anxiety and loneliness, and the role of associated characteristics specifically self-esteem, social skills and anxiety sensitivity, among young adults in Cyprus, and potential gender differences in the prediction of perceived loneliness. Method: Questionnaires on loneliness, social skills, anxiety sensitivity and self-esteem were administered to a college sample in Cyprus. Results: Mediated regression supported full mediation by social skills and self-esteem, but not by anxiety sensitivity in the association between social anxiety and loneliness. For men, loneliness was mostly predicted by anxiety sensitivity, but among women by poor social skills and lower self-esteem. For neither gender were these effects moderated by social anxiety level. Conclusion: Social anxiety and loneliness are related but distinct constructs. Interventions focusing on social skill acquisition and practice, and anxiety tolerance for men may improve confidence and ultimately result in decreased loneliness among youth.

Keywords


social anxiety; loneliness; peer relationships; anxiety sensitivity; self-esteem; anxiety