Emotional competencies, such as emotion regulation and empathy, are essential for social interaction. Impairment of these skills has been associated with increased rates of anxiety/depressive symptoms and loneliness, which has been defined as the discrepancy between the desired and actual quality and quantity of social relationships a person maintains. The aim of the present study was to shed light on the associations between these constructs and to examine the possible mediating role of loneliness in the relationship between emotional competencies and anxiety/depressive symptoms in a sample of non-clinical individuals. A total of 298 participants were recruited for this study and were asked to complete a series of measures assessing difficulties in emotion regulation, empathy, loneliness, and anxiety/depressive symptoms. Regression and mediation models were tested to analyze the associations between these variables. Results showed that reduced emotional competencies in emotion regulation and empathy were both directly and indirectly associated with increased anxiety/depressive symptoms and emotional loneliness, which in turn was related to higher levels of psychological distress (with a partial mediation of loneliness). Overall, the present findings seem to indicate that emotional competencies play a key role in the experience of loneliness and psychological distress. Therefore, individuals reporting high levels of loneliness in combination with anxious/depressive symptoms should receive appropriate assessment and treatment of emotion regulation and empathic skills.

Emotional competencies and psychological distress: Is loneliness a mediating factor?

Ghiggia, Ada;
2024-01-01

Abstract

Emotional competencies, such as emotion regulation and empathy, are essential for social interaction. Impairment of these skills has been associated with increased rates of anxiety/depressive symptoms and loneliness, which has been defined as the discrepancy between the desired and actual quality and quantity of social relationships a person maintains. The aim of the present study was to shed light on the associations between these constructs and to examine the possible mediating role of loneliness in the relationship between emotional competencies and anxiety/depressive symptoms in a sample of non-clinical individuals. A total of 298 participants were recruited for this study and were asked to complete a series of measures assessing difficulties in emotion regulation, empathy, loneliness, and anxiety/depressive symptoms. Regression and mediation models were tested to analyze the associations between these variables. Results showed that reduced emotional competencies in emotion regulation and empathy were both directly and indirectly associated with increased anxiety/depressive symptoms and emotional loneliness, which in turn was related to higher levels of psychological distress (with a partial mediation of loneliness). Overall, the present findings seem to indicate that emotional competencies play a key role in the experience of loneliness and psychological distress. Therefore, individuals reporting high levels of loneliness in combination with anxious/depressive symptoms should receive appropriate assessment and treatment of emotion regulation and empathic skills.
2024
20-nov-2023
Pubblicato
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sjop.12987
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3067233
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