The permeation of loneliness into the workplace: An examination of robustness and persistence over time

Graham H. Lowman, Stacey R. Kessler, Shani Pindek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The experience of loneliness has become ubiquitous in society today. However, despite the prevalence and considerable effects of loneliness, research on how this societal issue relates to the workplace remains limited. To address this shortcoming, we propose that loneliness is a permeating force that has a robust and persistent negative effect on employees' job satisfaction. We test our proposition using a nationally representative longitudinal sample of 627 Dutch employees surveyed each year between 2016 and 2018. Results of latent growth modeling indicate that loneliness is negatively related to job satisfaction, offering support for loneliness as a permeating force. Further, the effect of loneliness on job satisfaction remains significant despite controlling for well-established predictors of job satisfaction found in the Jobs-Demand Resource model (i.e., robustness) and has a significant influence on the trajectory of employees' job satisfaction over several years (i.e., persistence). On the basis of these results, we make the theoretical contribution of proposing that loneliness is a permeating force that infiltrates individuals' experiences at work. We further argue that the ramifications of loneliness on employees, and subsequently the organizations that employ them, are likely far more significant, sustained, and irrespective of work characteristics than previously understood.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 International Association of Applied Psychology.


  • job satisfaction
  • loneliness
  • permeation
  • persistence
  • robustness
  • trajectory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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