To reappraise or not to reappraise? Emotion regulation strategies moderate the association of loneliness during COVID-19 with depression and anxiety

Gal Kaplan, Mario Mikulincer, Karni Ginzburg, Avi Ohry, Zahava Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in heightened feelings of loneliness due to lockouts and social restrictions. Objective: In the present study, we examined the association of loneliness during the pandemic with anxiety and depression, while exploring the moderating role of the tendency to use two emotion-regulation strategies (expressive suppression, cognitive reappraisal). Design: We chose to examine these associations in a sample of older adults, because they faced higher risk for loneliness and health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Specifically, 174 Israeli veterans and ex-prisoners of wars from the 1973 Yom Kippur war (mean age = 69) completed self-report scales tapping loneliness, depression, anxiety, and emotion regulation strategies at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak (April-May 2020). Results: Findings revealed a stronger association between loneliness and depression among participants who had a greater tendency of using suppression. The tendency to use suppression did not significantly moderate the link between loneliness and anxiety. Additionally, a weaker association between loneliness and depression was found among participants who has a greater tendency of using reappraisal. However, these participants showed a stronger association between loneliness and anxiety. Conclusions: These findings highlight the complexity of reappraisal and adds to the growing body of work on emotion regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-317
Number of pages13
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • COVID 19
  • depression
  • emotion regulation
  • Loneliness
  • reappraisal

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