Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Depression, Loneliness, and Life Satisfaction in Emerging Adults

Publication Date

Fall 2023


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Abigail Heller

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation



Existing research indicates that loneliness can lead to negative outcomes such as depression and anxiety (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2023). When examining the role sleep plays in this relationship, research has shown that an increase in sleep quality is related to a decrease in levels of loneliness (Hladek, 2021). In addition, we examined the relationship between depression and life satisfaction, with the variable gratitude serving as a mediator to that relationship. Previous research has indicated that higher levels of gratitude negatively effects levels of depression (Wood et al., 2008). In previous research, as levels of depression began to decrease, life satisfaction levels increased with hope and gratitude both serving as mediators (Kwok, 2016). However, within our study we are focusing our research on emerging adults and focusing solely on gratitude to evaluate a mediated relationship.

Within our study, emerging adult college students (N= 46) took a Qualtrics survey that measured: demographics and levels of life satisfaction, gratitude, loneliness, and sleep quality. Results indicated that higher levels of loneliness did not significantly predict lower levels of life satisfaction, considering sleep quality as a mediator. However, there was a significant indirect effect of depression on life satisfaction via gratitude as a mediator, b = -0.237, boot SE = 0.094, 95% bootstrap CI [-0.432, -0.071]. These results indicate that lower levels of gratitude can be attributed as a reason why high depression leads to lower life satisfaction, and further suggests that improving gratitude may be necessary to combat the negative effects of depression on life satisfaction in the emerging adult population.

This document is currently not available here.