Loneliness and Depression: Contrasting the Buffering Effects of Self-Compassion and Self-Esteem
AuthorHaynes, Katelyn Noel
AdvisorHill, Terrence D.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractObjective. Several studies have established a positive association between loneliness and depression. This thesis builds on previous work by testing and contrasting the potential moderating influences of self-compassion and self-esteem. Methods. This study employed original survey data collected from 101 undergraduate students enrolled in a large public university in the southwestern United States. Focal variables included multi-item measures of loneliness, depressive symptoms, self-compassion, self-esteem, and a range of sociodemographic characteristics. Ordinary least squares regression was used to model continuous depressive symptoms as a function of predictor variables. Cross-product interaction terms (loneliness*selfcompassion and loneliness*self-esteem) were used to assess moderation. Results. Consistent with previous research, loneliness was positively associated with depressive symptoms. This association was moderated by self-compassion such that loneliness was less depressing at higher levels of self-compassion. The association between loneliness and depressive symptoms did not vary according to level of self-esteem. In other words, the mental health consequences of loneliness were comparable for respondents with higher or lower levels of self-esteem. Conclusion. Although loneliness was associated with higher levels of depression, this association was less pronounced for respondents who reported being more self-compassionate or accepting and understanding of themselves. In contrast, simply having higher self-esteem or a positive selfattitude failed to buffer the effects of loneliness.
Degree ProgramHonors College
Care, Health & Society