Experiential Avoidance And Fear Of Intimacy In Social Interactions And Loneliness
Loneliness has become such a problem in the United States, that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the USA’s surgeon general had warned of the epidemic of loneliness (Murthy, 2016). Even when accounting for other health behaviors, loneliness increases the likelihood of early death by 26% (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015). Previous research indicates that experiential avoidance and fear of intimacy are associated with loneliness and resulting psychological distress. However, little is known about how these variables impact daily social interactions and the resulting impact on loneliness and psychological well-being. This experiencing sampling study examined the extent to which social interactions were influenced by experiential avoidance and fear of intimacy, and how individuals evaluated their loneliness and well being as a function of those interactions. Participants completed 14 days of surveys that were delivered three times a day related to variables in this study and specific aspects of their social interactions. The discussion will focus on how the current study can inform understanding the development and treatment of loneliness.