Lonely and thinking about the past: the role of time perspectives, Big Five traits and perceived social support in loneliness of young adults during COVID-19 social distancing
More details
Hide details
Institute of Psychology, The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw, Poland
Submission date: 2020-04-20
Final revision date: 2020-07-02
Acceptance date: 2020-07-02
Online publication date: 2020-09-03
Publication date: 2020-10-01
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2020;8(3):175-184
In the spring of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Polish government introduced a policy of social distancing. Being apart from one’s social network had the potential to evoke feelings of loneliness. The aim of the study was to find out how time perspectives might contribute to feeling lonely during the social distancing period, controlling for Big Five personality traits and perceived social support.

Participants and procedure:
The study was online, questionnaire-based and cross-sectional (N = 964) and was conducted among young adults (aged 18-35) at the end of the third week of social distancing in Poland.

The results suggested that the Past-Negative time perspective remained significant predictor of loneliness when controlling for Big Five traits and perceived social support. Emotional stability, extroversion and perceived social support were also significant predictors of low loneliness.

Negative beliefs about the past may contribute to experiencing greater loneliness when being apart from one’s social network.

Anagnostopoulos, F., & Griva, F. (2012). Exploring time perspective in Greek young adults: Validation of the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory and relationships with mental health indicators. Social Indicators Re-search, 106, 41–59.
Barreto, M., Victor, C., Hammond, C., Eccles, A., Richins, M. T., & Qualter, P. (2020). Loneliness around the world: Age, gender, and cultural differences in loneliness. Personality and Individual Differences (in press).
Bergman, Y. S., & Segel-Karpas, D. (2018). Future time perspective, loneliness, and depressive symptoms among middle-aged adults: A mediation model. Journal of Affective Disorders, 241, 173–175.
Buecker, S., Maes, M., Denissen, J. J., & Luhmann, M. (2020). Loneliness and the Big Five personality traits: A meta‐analysis. European Journal of Personality, 34, 8–28.
Buszman, K., & Przybyła-Basista, H. (2017). Polska adaptacja Wielowymiarowej Skali Spostrzeganego Wspar-cia Społecznego [The Polish adaptation of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support]. Polskie Forum Psychologiczne, 22, 581–599.
Chiaburu, D. S., Van Dam, K., & Hutchins, H. M. (2010). Social support in the workplace and training transfer: A longitudinal analysis. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 18, 187–200.
Chittaro, L., & Vianello, A. (2013). Time perspective as a predictor of problematic Internet use: A study of Fa-cebook users. Personality and Individual Differences, 55, 989–993.
Clore, G. L., & Ortony, A. (2000). Cognition in emotion: Always, sometimes, or never? In R. D. Lane & L. Nadel (Eds.), Cognitive neuroscience of emotion (pp. 24–61). New York: Oxford University Press.
de Jong-Gierveld, J., van Tilburg, T. G., & Dykstra, P. A. (2006). Loneliness and social isolation. In D. Perlman, & A. Vangelisti (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of personal relationships (pp. 485–500). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Donnellan, M. B., Oswald, F. L., Baird, B. M., & Lucas, R. E. (2006). The mini-IPIP scales: tiny-yet-effective measures of the Big Five factors of personality. Psychological Assessment, 18, 192–203.
Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Buchner, A., & Lang, A. G. (2009). Statistical power analyses using G*Power 3.1: Tests for correlation and regression analyses. Behavior Research Methods, 41, 1149–1160.
Gambin, M., Sękowski, M., Woźniak-Prus, M., Wnuk, A., Oleksy, T., Cudo, A., ... & Maison, D. (2020). General-ized anxiety and depressive symptoms in various age groups during the COVID-19 lockdown. Specific pre-dictors and differences in symptoms severity [Preprint]. Retrieved from (June 29, 2020).
Hawkley, L. C., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2010). Loneliness matters: A theoretical and empirical review of conse-quences and mechanisms. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 40, 218–227.
Hirsch, C. (2020, March 31). Europe’s coronavirus lockdown measures compared. Retrieved from (April 16, 2020).
Iecovich, E., Jacobs, J. M., & Stessman, J. (2011). Loneliness, social networks, and mortality: 18 years of follow-up. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 72, 243–263.
Kossek, E. E., Pichler, S., Bodner, T., & Hammer, L. B. (2011). Workplace social support and work-family con-flict: A meta‐analysis clarifying the influence of general and work-family‐specific supervisor and organiza-tional support. Personnel Psychology, 64(2), 289–313.
Kwiatkowska, M. M., Rogoza, R., & Kwiatkowska, K. (2017). Analysis of the psychometric properties of the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale in the Polish adolescent sample. Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 5, 1–7.
Larose, S., Guay, F., & Boivin, M. (2002). Attachment, social support, and loneliness in young adulthood: A test of two models. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 684–693.
Lee, C. Y. S., & Goldstein, S. E. (2016). Loneliness, stress, and social support in young adulthood: Does the source of support matter? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 568–580.
Lopez-Vazquez, E., & Marvan, M. L. (2003). Risk perception, stress and coping strategies in two catastrophe risk situations. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 31, 61–70.
Matthews, G., & Stolarski, M. (2015). Emotional processes in development and dynamics of individual time perspective. In M. Stolarski, N. Fieulaine, & W. van Beek (Eds.), Time perspective theory; review, research and application (pp. 269–286). Cham: Springer.
Okruszek, Ł., Aniszewska-Stańczuk, A., Piejka, A., Wiśniewska, M., & Żurek, K. (2020). Safe but lonely? Lone-liness, mental health symptoms and COVID-19 [Preprint]. Retrieved from, (April 16, 2020).
Orzechowska, M., & Bednarek, A. K. (2020). Forecasting COVID-19 pandemic in Poland according to gov-ernment regulations and people behavior [Preprint]. Retrieved from, (June 19, 2020).
Perlman, D., & Peplau, L. A. (1981). Toward a Social Psychology of Loneliness. In R. Gilmour & S. Duck (Eds.), Personal Relationships: 3. Relationships in Disorder (pp. 31–56). London: Academic Press.
Przepiorka, A., Sobol-Kwapinska, M., & Jankowski, T. (2016). A Polish short version of the Zimbardo Time Per-spective Inventory. Personality and Individual Differences, 101, 78–89.
Russell, D. W. (1996). UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3): Reliability, validity, and factor structure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 66, 20–40.
Salimi, A., & Bozorgpour, F. (2012). Perceived social support and social-emotional loneliness. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 69, 2009–2013.
Sedikides, C., Wildschut, T., Gaertner, L., Routledge, C., & Arndt, J. (2008). Nostalgia as enabler of self continui-ty. In F. Sani (Ed.), Self continuity: Individual and collective perspectives (pp. 227–239). London: Psycholo-gy Press.
Sedikides, С., Wildschut, T., & Baden, D. (2004). Nostalgia: Conceptual issues and existential functions. In J. Greenberg, S. L. Koole, & T. Pyszczynski (Eds.), Handbook of experimental existential psychology (pp. 200–214). New York: Guilford Press.
Spithoven, A. W., Bijttebier, P., & Goossens, L. (2017). It is all in their mind: A review on information processing bias in lonely individuals. Clinical Psychology Review, 58, 97–114.
Stolarski, M., & Matthews, G. (2016). Time perspectives predict mood states and satisfaction with life over and above personality. Current Psychology, 35, 516–526.
Stolarski, M., Matthews, G., Postek, S., Zimbardo, P. G., & Bitner, J. (2014). How we feel is a matter of time: Relationships between time perspectives and mood. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15, 809–827.
Topolewska, E., Skimina, E., Strus, W., Cieciuch, J., & Rowiński, T. (2014). The short IPIP-BFM-20 question-naire for measuring the Big Five. Roczniki Psychologiczne, 17, 385–402.
Wang, J., Mann, F., Lloyd-Evans, B., Ma, R., & Johnson, S. (2018). Associations between loneliness and per-ceived social support and outcomes of mental health problems: a systematic review. BMC Psychiatry, 18, 156.
Zhang, J. W., & Howell, R. T. (2011). Do time perspectives predict unique variance in life satisfaction beyond personality traits? Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 1261–1266.
Zhang, J. W., Howell, R. T., & Stolarski, M. (2013). Comparing three methods to measure a balanced time per-spective: The relationship between balanced time perspective and subjective well-being. Journal of Happi-ness Studies, 14, 169–184.
Zimbardo, P. G., & Boyd, J. N. (2008). The time paradox. New York: Free Press.
Zimbardo, P. G., & Boyd, J. N. (1999). Putting time in perspective: a valid, reliable individual-differences metric. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1271–1288.
Zimet, G. D., Dahlem, N. W., Zimet, S. G., & Farley, G. K. (1988). The multidimensional scale of perceived social support. Journal of Personality Assessment, 52, 30–41.
Zimet, G. D., Powell, S. S., Farley, G. K., Werkman, S., & Berkoff, K. A. (1990). Psychometric characteristics of the multidimensional scale of perceived social support. Journal of Personality Assessment, 55, 610–617.
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top