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


Michael A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality

Document Type


Publication Date



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.

Journal Title

Applied Psychology

Journal ISSN


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)