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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2017 Aug;43(8):1125-1135. doi: 10.1177/0146167217705120. Epub 2017 Jun 13.

Reciprocal Influences Between Loneliness and Self-Centeredness: A Cross-Lagged Panel Analysis in a Population-Based Sample of African American, Hispanic, and Caucasian Adults.

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1 The University of Chicago, IL, USA.
2 The University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, IL, USA.


Loneliness has been posited to increase the motivation to repair or replace deficient social relationships and, seemingly paradoxically, to increase the implicit motivation for self-preservation. In the current research, we report a cross-lagged panel analysis of 10 waves of longitudinal data ( N = 229) on loneliness and self-centeredness (as gauged by Feeney and Collins's measure of chronic self-focus) in a representative sample of middle-aged and older adults. As predicted by the proposition that loneliness increases the implicit motivation for self-preservation, loneliness in the current year predicts self-centeredness in the subsequent year beyond what is explained by current-year demographic variables, self-centeredness, depressive symptomatology, and overall negative mood. Analyses also show that self-centeredness in the current year (net covariates) predicts loneliness in the subsequent year, a reciprocal relationship that could potentially contribute to the maintenance of loneliness. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


loneliness; longitudinal methodology; perceived social isolation; population-based sample; self-centeredness; self-preservation

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