Correlates of loneliness among persons with psychotic disorders

Kelsey A. Ludwig, Lana N. Nye, Grace L. Simmons, Lars F. Jarskog, Amy E. Pinkham, Philip D. Harvey, David L. Penn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: Persons diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs) often experience pervasive feelings of loneliness, which are considered a significant barrier to treatment and recovery. Aim: As impaired social cognition may contribute to increased loneliness and less skillful social interactions, this study examines the relationships between loneliness and measures of social cognition and functional outcome from the Social Cognition Psychometric Evaluation (SCOPE) study. Methods: This study evaluated the relationship between loneliness, social cognitive ability, and social functioning in the context of a large-scale psychometric investigation. We also explored the associations of select demographic characteristics and clinical variables on the endorsement of loneliness in persons diagnosed with a psychotic disorder. Results: Seventy-four stable outpatients with SSDs and 58 healthy controls completed the UCLA Loneliness Scale in addition to the standard SCOPE battery. Our findings support prior research indicating persons diagnosed with a psychotic disorder experience greater levels of loneliness than normative groups. However, the results also indicate that self-reported loneliness is not associated with social cognitive abilities or functional outcome in psychosis. Regression analyses indicate that roughly half the variance in loneliness endorsed by persons with SSDs is accounted for by clinical variables, with loneliness most strongly associated with guilt and self-esteem. Conclusion: These findings suggest that treatments aiming to reduce perceived social isolation in psychosis should incorporate techniques to bolster selfesteem, reduce guilt, and improve depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-559
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Self-esteem
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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