The mediating effect of Loneliness between Psychological Attachment and Social anxiety
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The feeling of loneliness has been increasing worldwide and can be influenced by multiple factors, such as psychological attachment (Lim et al., 2020; Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999). In particular, the attachment domains avoidance and anxiety, were found to have a positive relationship with feelings of loneliness, while secure attachment does not. Loneliness was found to elicit negative consequences, such as social anxiety, due to limited social relationships caused by loneliness (Lim et al., 2016; Suri et al., 2019; Erozkan, 2011; Manning et al., 2017). Previous research did not study the influence of loneliness on the relationship between attachment and social anxiety, despite the fact that loneliness is rooted in the attachment process and negatively impacts social anxiety severely (Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999). Therefore, this study hypothesized that loneliness mediates the relationship between attachment and social anxiety, which was investigated for secure attachment, anxious, and avoidant attachment domains. The sample comprised 94 respondents, 69 female, 22 male, and three non-binary participants between the ages 18 and 34. The outcomes revealed that loneliness was found to mediate the relationship between avoidant and anxious attachment domains and social anxiety, but not for secure attachment. The implications of this study are that clinical interventions should consider the interplay of attachment, loneliness, and social anxiety. Thus, treatment should focus on all three factors rather than addressing isolated issues to best assist patients.