Zeitschrift für Depression und Angst

Zeitschrift für Depression und Angst
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ISSN: 2167-1044


Coping Style as a Moderator of Chronic Loneliness and Substance Use in Emerging Adults

L. P. MacNeill, E. DiTommaso and C. Brunelle

Primary affective bonds are integral to forming successful close adult relationships and an inadequate sense of belongingness can lead to loneliness. Loneliness and insecure attachment have been consistently related to negative behavioural outcomes, such as substance use which is often used as a means to cope with negative emotions The goal of this study was to examine whether coping may moderate the relationship between attachment security, loneliness, and substance use. Two hundred and nine (209) young adults (18-30 years of age) completed self-report questionnaires measuring attachment security, loneliness, coping style, and level of substance use. In the current sample, 60.3% of participants met the criteria for alcohol misuse and 48.3% met the criteria for drug misuse. Results showed that higher levels of chronic social loneliness predicted higher levels of substance use (p =. 029), but coping did not moderate this relationship. Higher attachment avoidance predicted higher levels of substance use (p < .001), while adaptive coping moderated this relationship (p = .001). Since adaptive coping skills may buffer avoidant individuals against substance misuse, it may be useful for substance use interventions to be tailored, such that avoidant individuals are taught coping skills that promote greater awareness of internal states and lessen feelings of interpersonal distress.