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Gepubliceerd in: Cognitive Therapy and Research 6/2020

04-07-2020 | Original Article

Reframing Time Spent Alone: Reappraisal Buffers the Emotional Effects of Isolation

Auteurs: Micaela Rodriguez, Benjamin W. Bellet, Richard J. McNally

Gepubliceerd in: Cognitive Therapy and Research | Uitgave 6/2020

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Abstract

Background

Loneliness, a transdiagnostic feature of psychopathology, is an experience of perceived isolation only weakly linked to the amount of time spent alone. Although traditional loneliness interventions aim to increase social contact, targeting maladaptive cognition about time alone may be an effective way to reduce loneliness. We investigated whether a brief reappraisal manipulation enables individuals to experience their time alone more positively. We also tested the impact of trait loneliness, compulsive social media use, and trait reappraisal on experiences of time alone.

Methods

College students and community members (N = 220) were randomly assigned to read a passage about the benefits of solitude (n = 74), the true prevalence of loneliness (n = 72), or a control topic (n = 74). Participants then sat alone for 10 min.

Results

Across conditions, positive and negative mood significantly decreased after sitting alone. Participants who read about the benefits of solitude experienced a smaller reduction in positive mood than those in the control condition. Participants who less frequently used reappraisal in their everyday lives benefited most from the manipulation.

Conclusions

Our results provide preliminary evidence that reappraising time alone as solitude may boost resilience to the decrements in positive mood associated with time alone. Limitations, clinical implications, and directions for future research are discussed.
Voetnoten
1
Non-compliance with study procedures includes calling the experimenter during the waiting period (n = 8), browsing the internet on the laboratory computer (n = 6), and using a smartwatch during the study (n = 1).
 
2
Four experimenters (the first author and three undergraduate research assistants) ran participants for this study.
 
3
At the suggestion of an anonymous reviewer of a previous version of this manuscript, we assessed the effect of condition on positive and negative mood at Time 2 (post-manipulation) in two separate ANOVAs. The results of these analyses can be found in Supplementary Materials S6 online at https://​osf.​io/​wsv3y/​.
 
4
The distribution of baseline levels of negative mood exhibited a strong right skew, suggesting a floor effect. We conducted post-hoc exploratory analyses to examine a subsample of participants in the highest quartile of baseline negative mood. In this subsample, negative mood significantly decreased across conditions, as determined through a series of independent samples t-tests. Negative mood decreased more in this subsample (MDifference = 3.54) than it did in the full sample (MDifference = 1.17). However, the reappraisal conditions did not effect a larger decrease in negative mood than did the control condition, according to an exploratory ANOVA. It is important to note that our power was significantly attenuated in this analysis.
 
Literatuur
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Metagegevens
Titel
Reframing Time Spent Alone: Reappraisal Buffers the Emotional Effects of Isolation
Auteurs
Micaela Rodriguez
Benjamin W. Bellet
Richard J. McNally
Publicatiedatum
04-07-2020
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Cognitive Therapy and Research / Uitgave 6/2020
Print ISSN: 0147-5916
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-2819
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-020-10128-x

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