Multiple Mediation of Loneliness and Negative Emotions in the Relationship between Adolescents’ Social Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms

Kemal Baytemir, Mehmet Ali Yildiz


The current research aims to investigate the multiple mediation of loneliness and negative emotions in the relationship between adolescents’ social anxiety and depressive symptoms. Study participants, selected through convenience sampling, consisted of a total of 263 students, including 155 females (59%) and 108 males (41%), attending various high schools in a city in the mid-Black Sea Region. Participant students’ ages ranged between 14 and 18, with an average age of 15.05 (SD=.90). Data for the current study were collected through the Social Anxiety Scale for Adolescents, UCLA Loneliness Scale – Short Form, Positive and Negative Emotion Scale for Adolescents, Depression Scale for Children, and Personal Information Form. Current research data were analyzed through descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficient, and an approach based on Ordinary Least Squares Regression, and the Bootstrap Method. The current study findings indicated that loneliness and negative emotions, both separately and together, mediated the relationship between social anxiety and depressive symptoms. No significant difference was found in the comparison conducted to reveal the more powerful mediating variable in terms of mediation effect. In addition, it was found that the model overall was significant and it explained 44% of the total variance in depressive symptoms. A discussion about and interpretation of findings obtained in the current study were included along with suggestions for relevant practitioners.


Social anxiety; depressive symptoms; loneliness; negative emotions; multiple mediation; adolescents

Full Text:



Aydın, A., & Tekinsav-Sütcü, S. (2007). Ergenler için sosyal kaygı ölçeğinin (ESKÖ) geçerlik ve güvenirliğinin incelenmesi [Validity and reliability of social anxiety scale for adolescents (SAS-A)]. Turkish Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 14(2), 79-89.

Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497-529.

Bayramkaya, E. (2010). Sosyal fobi belirtileri, yetişkin bağlanma boyutları ve kişilerarası ilişki tarzları arasındaki ilişkiler [The relationship between social phobia symptoms, adult attachment styles and interpersonal relationships styles]. 16. Ulusal Psikoloji Kongresi 14-17 Nisan, Mersin.

Beesdo, K., Bittner, A., Pine, D. S., Stein, M. B., Höfler, M., Lieb, R., & Wittchen, H. U. (2007). Incidence of social anxiety disorder and the consistent risk for secondary depression in the first three decades of life. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64(8), 903-912.

Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond. New York: The Guilford Press.

Beidel, D. C., Turner, S. M., & Morris T. L. (1999). Psychopathology of childhood social phobia. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38(6), 643-650.

Bernstein, G. A., Bernat, D. H., Davis, A. A, & Layne, A. E. (2008). Symptom presentation and classroom functioning in a nonclinical sample of children with social phobia. Depression and Anxiety, 25, 752-760.

Buhrmester, D. (1990). Intimacy of friendship, interpersonal competence, and adjustment during preadolescence and adolescence. Child Development, 61(4), 1101-1111.

Buhrmester, D., & Furman, W. (1987). The development of companionship and intimacy. Child Development, 58(4), 1101-1113.

Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. (1991). Tripartite model of anxiety and depression: Psychometric evidence and taxonomic implications. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100(3), 316-336.

Contardi, A., Farina, B., Fabbricatore, M., Tamburello, S., Scapellato, P., Penzo, I., ...& Innamorati, M. (2012). Difficulties in emotion regulation and personal distress in young adults with social anxiety. Rivista di Psichiatria, 48(2), 155-161.

Davidson, C. L., Wingate, L. R., Grant, D. M., Judah, M. R., & Mills, A. C. (2011). Interpersonal suicide risk and ideation: The influence of depression and social anxiety. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 30(8), 842-855.

Eisner, L. R., Johnson, S. L., & Carver, C. S. (2009). Positive affect regulation in anxiety disorders. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23(5), 645-649.

Emiroğlu, M., Murat, M., & Bindak, R. (2011). Lise son sınıf öğrencilerinin depresyon düzeylerini yordayan sosyo-demografik değişkenlerin belirlenmesi [Determination of socio-demographic variables predicting levels of high school students]. Electronic Journal of Social Sciences, 10(38), 262-274.

Eskin, M., Ertekin, K., Harlak, H., & Dereboy, Ç. (2008). Lise öğrencisi ergenlerde depresyonun yaygınlığı ve ilişkili olduğu etmenler [Prevalence of and factors related to depression in high school students]. Turkish Journal of Psychiatry, 19(4), 382-389.

Gander, M. J., & Gardiner, H. W. (2004). Çocuk ve ergen gelişimi [The development of children and adolescents]. (Trans. Ed. B. Onur). (5th ed.) Ankara: İmge Publishing.

Ginsburg, G. S., La Greca, A. M., & Silverman, W. K. (1998). Social anxiety in children with anxiety disorders: Relation with social and emotional functioning. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 26, 175–185.

Gültekin, B. K., & Dereboy, İ. F. (2011). Üniversite öğrencilerinde sosyal fobinin yaygınlığı ve sosyal fobinin yaşam kalitesi, akademik başarı ve kimlik oluşumu üzerine etkileri [The prevalence of social phobia, and its impact on quality of life, academic achievement, and identity formation in university students]. Turkish Journal of Psychiatry, 22(3), 150-158.

Greco, L. A., & Morris, T. L. (2005). Factors influencing the link between social anxiety and peer acceptance: Contributions of social skills and close friendships during middle childhood. Behavior Therapy, 36(2), 197-205.

Havighurst, R. J. (1947). The developmental tasks of adolescents. UNESCO Summer Seminar on Education for International Understanding, 18 August 1947, (pp. 1-3) Paris, France. Retrieved from: 13. 05. 2016

Hayes, A. F. (2012). PROCESS: A versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling. Retrieved from:

Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.

Hays, R. D., & DiMatteo, M. R. (1987). A short-form measure of loneliness. Journal of Personality Assessment, 51(1), 69-81.

Heinrich, L. M., & Gullone, E. (2006). The clinical significance of loneliness: A literature review. Clinical Psychology Review, 26(6), 695-718.

Horn, P. J., & Wuyek, L. A. (2010). Anxiety disorders as a risk factor for subsequent depression. International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, 14, 244-247.

Hsu, L. R., Hailey, B. J., & Range, L. M. (1987). Cultural and emotional components of loneliness and depression. The Journal of Psychology, 121(1), 61-70.

Inderbitzen, H. M., Walters, K. S., & Bukowski, A. L. (1997). The role of social anxiety in adolescent peer relations: Differences among sociometric status groups and rejected subgroups. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 26(4), 338-348.

Johnson, H. D., Lavoie, J. C., & Mahoney, M. (2001). Interparental conflict and family cohesion predictors of loneliness, social anxiety, and social avoidance in late adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Research, 16(3), 304-318.

Kashdan, T. B. (2004). The neglected relationship between social interaction anxiety and hedonic deficits: Differentiation from depressive symptoms. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 18(5), 719-730.

Kaya, N., Çilli, A. S., Aşkın, R., Herken, H., Özkan, İ., & Kucur, R. (1997). Orta ve yükseköğrenim öğrencilerinde sosyal fobik belirti yaygınlığı [The prevalence of social phobia among high school and university students]. Journal of General Medicine, 7(3), 133-137.

Kessler, R. C., Stang, P., Wittchen, H-U, Stein, M., & Walters, E. E. (1999). Lifetime co-morbidities between social phobia and mood disorders in the US National Comorbidity Survey. Psychological Medicine, 29(3), 555-567.

Khalid-Khan, S., Santibanez, M-P., McMicken, C., & Rynn, M. A. (2007). Social anxiety disorder in children and adolescents. Pediatric Drugs, 9(4), 227-237.

Kim, O. (2001). Sex differences in social support, loneliness, and depression among Korean college students. Psychological Reports, 88(2), 521-526.

Kocabaşoğlu, N., Doksat, M. K., & Doğangün, B. (2004). Anksiyete ve depresyonun çok yönlü ilişkisi [Various aspects of relationship between anxiety and depression]. Yeni Symposium, 42(4), 168-176.

Kovacs, M. (1985). The children’s depression inventory (CDI). Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 21(4), 995-998.

La Greca, A. M., & Harrison, H. M. (2005). Adolescent peer relations, friendships, and romantic relationships: Do they predict social anxiety and depression? Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34(1), 49-61.

La Greca, A. M., & Lopez, N. (1998). Social anxiety among adolescents: Linkages with peer relationships and friendships. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 26, 83-94.

Lasgaard, M., Goossens, L., & Elklit, A. (2011). Loneliness, depressive symptomatology, and suicide ideation in adolescence: Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39(1), 137-150.

Lau, S., Chan, D. W., & Lau, P. S. (1999). Facets of loneliness and depression among Chinese children and adolescents. The Journal of Social Psychology, 139(6), 713-729.

Laurent, J., Catanzaro, S. J., Joiner Jr, T. E., Rudolph, K. D., Potter, K. I., Lambert, S., ... & Gathright, T. (1999). A measure of positive and negative affect for children: scale development and preliminary validation. Psychological Assessment, 11(3), 326-338.

Masia-Warner, C., Klein, R. G., Dent, H. C., Fisher, P. H., Alvir, J., Albano, A. M., & Guardino, M. (2005). School-based intervention for adolescents with social anxiety disorder: Results of a controlled study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33(6), 707-722.

Mehtalia, K., & Vankar, G. K. (2004). Social anxiety in adolescents. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 46(3), 221-227.

Moore, D., & Schultz Jr, N. R. (1983). Loneliness at adolescence: Correlates, attributions, and coping. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 12(2), 95-100.

Nepon, T., Flett, G. L., Hewitt, P. L., & Molnar, D. S. (2011). Perfectionism, negative social feedback, and interpersonal rumination in depression and social anxiety. Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 43(4), 297-308.

Ohayon, M. M., & Schatzberg, A. F. (2010). Social phobia and depression: Prevalence and comorbidity. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 68(3), 235-243.

Ollendick, T. H., & Yule, W. (1990). Depression in British and American children and its relation to anxiety and fear. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58(1), 126-129.

Öy, B. (1991). Çocuklar için depresyon ölçeği: Geçerlilik ve güvenirlik çalışması [Depression scale for children: Validity and reliability study]. Turkish Journal of Psychiatry, (2), 132-136.

Özfırat, Ö., Pehlivan, E., & Özdemir, F. Ç. (2009). Malatya il merkezindeki lise son sınıf öğrencilerinde depresyon prevalansı ve ilişkili faktörler [The depression prevalence and related factors in the last-phase high-school students in the Centre of Malatya]. Journal of Inonu University Medical Faculty, 16(4), 247-255.

Rich, A. R., & Scovel, M. (1987). Causes of depression in college students: A cross-lagged panel correlational analysis. Psychological Reports, 60(1), 27-30.

Rusch, S., Westermann, S., & Lincoln, T. M. (2012). Specificity of emotion regulation deficits in social anxiety: An internet study. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 85(3), 268-277.

Santrock, J. W. (2011). Yaşam boyu gelişim [Life-span development]. (Trans. Ed. G.Yüksel). Ankara: Nobel Publishing.

Spence, S. H., Donovan, C., & Brechman-Toussaint, M. (1999). Social skills, social outcomes, and cognitive features of childhood social phobia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108(2), 211-221.

Stein M. B., Fuetsch, M., Muller, N., Hofler, M., Lieb, R., & Wittchen, H-U. (2001). Social anxiety disorder and the risk of depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58, 251-256.

Steinberg, L. (2007). Ergenlik [Adolescence]. (Trans. Ed. F. Çok). (First ed.). Ankara: İmge Publishing.

Sübaşı, G. (2007). Üniversite öğrencilerinde sosyal kaygıyı yordayıcı bazı değişkenler [Some variables for social anxiety prediction in college students]. Education and Science, 32, 3-15.

Swami, V., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., Sinniah, D., Maniam, T., Kannan, K., Stanistreet, D., & Furnham, A. (2007). General health mediates the relationship between loneliness, life satisfaction and depression. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 42(2), 161-166.

Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013). Using multivariate statistics (6th Ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Temel, Z. F., & Aksoy, A. B. (2001). Ergen ve gelişimi: Yetişkinliğe ilk adım [Adolescents and development: The first step to adulthood]. (First ed.). Ankara: Nobel Publishing.

Turk, C. L., Heimberg, R. G., Luterek, J. A., Mennin, D. S., & Fresco, D. M. (2005). Emotion dysregulation in generalized anxiety disorder: A comparison with social anxiety disorder. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 29(1), 89-106.

Türkçapar, M. H. (1999). Sosyal fobinin psikolojik kuramı [Psychological theory of social phobia]. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2, 247-253.

Qualter, P., Brown, S. L., Munn, P., & Rotenberg, K. J. (2010). Childhood loneliness as a predictor of adolescent depressive symptoms: An 8-year longitudinal study. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 19(6), 493-501.

van Roekel, E., Goossens, L., Verhagen, M., Wouters, S., Engels, R. C. M. E., & Scholte, R. H. (2013). Loneliness, affect, and adolescents’ appraisals of company: An experience sampling method study. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(2), 350-363.

Vittengl, J. R., & Holt, C. S. (1998). Positive and negative affect in social interactions as a function of partner familiarity, quality of communication, and social anxiety. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 17(2), 196-208.

Werner, K. H., Goldin, P. R., Ball, T. M., Heimberg, R. G., & Gross, J. J. (2011). Assessing emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder: The emotion regulation interview. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 33(3), 346-354.

Wilbert, J. R., & Rupert, P. A. (1986). Dysfunctional attitudes, loneliness, and depression in college students. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 10(1), 71-77.

Yazgan İnanç, B., Bilgin, M., & Kılıç Atıcı, M. (2012). Gelişim psikolojisi: Çocuk ve ergen gelişimi [Developmental psychology: Child and adolescent development]. (8th ed.). Ankara: Pegem Academy.

Yıldız, M. A. (2014). Ergenlerde anne-babaya bağlanma ile öznel iyi oluş arasındaki ilişkide duygu düzenleme ve baş etme yöntemlerinin çoklu aracılık rolü [The multiple mediating role of emotion regulation and coping strategies on the relationship between parental attachment and subjective wellbeing in adolescents]. Yayımlanmamış Doktora Tezi [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Mersin University, Mersin, Turkey.

Yıldız, M. A., & Duy, B. (2014). Adaptation of the short-form of the UCLA loneliness scale (ULS-8) to Turkish for the adolescents. Düşünen Adam: The Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences, 27(3), 194-203.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Murcia (Spain)

Open AccessSello de Calidad FECyT 2013Thomson-Reuters-JCRScielo-Españadoajscimago