Moderators of Loneliness Trajectories in People with Systemic Sclerosis During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A SPIN COVID-19 Cohort Longitudinal Study

SPIN COVID-19 Patient Advisory Team, SPIN Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many individuals with systemic sclerosis (SSc) are at heightened risk for COVID-19 related morbidity and isolation due to interstitial lung disease, frailty, and immunosuppressant use. Minimal research has explored loneliness predictors in individuals with chronic illnesses during COVID-19. This study evaluated moderators of loneliness trajectories in individuals with SSc during COVID-19. Methods: Longitudinal data were analyzed across 30 timepoints from April 2020 to May 2022 from 775 adults in the Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN) COVID-19 Cohort. Hierarchical linear modeling evaluated cross-level moderators of loneliness trajectories, including marital status, baseline number of household members, number of virtual or telephone one-on-one or virtual group conversations, number of hours spent enjoying in-person household conversations or activities, and satisfaction with quality of in-person household conversations (all in the past week). Level-1 moderation analyses assessed effects of conversation, activity, and satisfaction means and slopes over time. Results: Baseline values were not statistically significant moderators of loneliness trajectories. Higher mean (averaged over time) virtual or telephone one-on-one and in-person household conversations, in-person household activity, and in-person household conversation satisfaction were associated with lower loneliness trajectories (ps <.05). The relationship between in-person household conversation satisfaction and loneliness trajectory was statistically significantly but minimally attenuated over time (p <.001). Conclusions: For people with SSc, higher mean conversation, activity, and satisfaction variables were associated with lower levels of loneliness during the pandemic, but changes in these social variables were generally not predictive of changes in loneliness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • COVID-19
  • Loneliness
  • Scleroderma
  • Social support
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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