Loneliness and social isolation are well known to have detrimental effects on mental and physical health, and the perception of social support is frequently viewed as a protective factor. Yet, the beneficial effect varies when perceived support is considered with respect to gender and personality. We examined the mechanism of loneliness as a mediator of personality on health and moderation of this relationship by perceived social support and gender. Five hundred and thirty young adults (325 women) aged 18–32 years (Mage = 25.42, SD = 4.13) provided self-report assessments of personality, loneliness, perceived social support, general health and psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on well-being. Using a series of regression-based mediation and moderated mediation models, we found higher scores on extraversion to be associated with lower loneliness and better general health and well-being; higher neuroticism with greater loneliness and poorer general health. Being male and perceiving greater friend support moderated the neuroticism–loneliness–well-being relationship. Men higher on neuroticism were less able to benefit from lower loneliness when the perception of support from friends was greater, yet were less sensitive to the negative impact on the well-being of perceiving low levels of friend support. Effects suggest important gender differences with the potential to inform health interventions.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||International journal of environmental research and public health|
|Publication status||Published - 29 Jun 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research received no external funding. Financial support for this project was provided by allocation of internal quality-related (QR) research funding from the Department of Psychology at Bournemouth University (project code 32213). The APC was funded by Bournemouth University.
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- social relationships