Affection deprivation during the COVID-19 pandemic: A panel study

Colin Hesse*, Alan Mikkelson, Xi Tian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the longer-term effects of the COVID-19 lockdowns on relational communication and mental health. Specifically, the study used the theoretic premises of Affection Exchange Theory (AET: Floyd, 2006) to hypothesize connections between affection deprivation and several indices of mental health, including loneliness and depression. The study used a panel design to recruit participants at different time points during the COVID-19 lockdowns. We employed growth modeling to examine how affection deprivation influenced mental health outcomes over time. As predicted, affection deprivation was associated with stress, loneliness, and depression. Contrary to our hypotheses, affection deprivation was not associated with life satisfaction and happiness. In addition, the results showed that sex moderated the relationship between affection deprivation and depression. These findings are discussed in detail, including both theoretical and practical implications as well as directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2965-2984
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number10
Early online date26 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • affection deprivation
  • loneliness
  • depression
  • mental health


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