Connection and disconnection as predictors of mental health and wellbeing

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Kristine Klussman
Austin Lee Nichols
Julia Langer
Nicola Curtin

Abstract

Despite the established literature on connection to others, and burgeoning research on self-connection, researchers have paid little attention to the equivalent experiences of disconnection that people can experience in their everyday lives. The current research examined connection and disconnection from oneself and others. Specifically, across two studies, participants listed up to twenty words or phrases that they experienced related to each form of (dis)connection. Study 1 focused on how these affected participants’ mental health (i.e. anxiety and depression), while study 2 examined positive forms of wellbeing (i.e., flourishing and life satisfaction). Results suggested that increased mental health was most strongly related to a greater experience of connection to others. Flourishing also increased as one’s experience of other-connection increased. By contrast, poorer wellbeing was related to a greater experience of disconnection from others. Finally, life satisfaction decreased when participants experienced greater self-disconnection. In all, these findings provide an initial test of and support for the continued examination of various forms of both connection and disconnection.

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