Seeing sadness: comorbid effects of loneliness and depression on emotional face processing

Cheeta, Survjit, Beevers, Joseph, Chambers, Sophie, Szameitat, Andre and Chandler, Chris (2021) Seeing sadness: comorbid effects of loneliness and depression on emotional face processing. Brain and Behavior, 11 (7). pp. 1-9. ISSN 2162-3279

brb3.2189.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (588kB) | Preview
Official URL:

Abstract / Description

Loneliness and depression are highly comorbid, and both are associated with social processing deficits. However, there is a paucity of research aimed at differentiating emotional face‐processing deficits that are comorbid to loneliness and depression versus those attributable to loneliness or depression only.

502 participants were recruited and screened for loneliness (UCLA Loneliness Scale) and depression (Beck Depression Inventory). Of those, seventy‐seven took part in a fully crossed 2 (loneliness; low/high) * 2 (depression; low/high) factorial between‐subjects design study to assess individual and comorbid effects of loneliness and depression on a computerized morphed facial emotion processing task.

Comorbidity was confirmed by a significant positive correlation between loneliness and depression. On the emotion processing task, loneliness was associated with an increased accuracy for sad faces and decreased accuracy for fearful faces and depression with decreased accuracy in identifying happy faces. Comorbid loneliness and depression resulted in an increased misattribution of neutral faces as sad, an effect that was also seen in those who were either only lonely or only depressed.

This if the first study to tease out comorbid versus independent effects of loneliness and depression on social information processing. To the extent that emotional biases may act as risk factors for detrimental outcomes, our findings highlight the importance of treating both loneliness and depression.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From Wiley via Jisc Publications Router
Uncontrolled Keywords: comorbidity; depression; emotional face processing; loneliness; young adults
Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
Department: School of Social Sciences and Professions
SWORD Depositor: Pub Router
Depositing User: Pub Router
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2021 09:40
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2021 13:27


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item