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Efficacy of acts of kindness : the importance of emotions in the prevention of depressive symptoms

Omar, N. (2018) Efficacy of acts of kindness : the importance of emotions in the prevention of depressive symptoms.

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Abstract:Previous research suggests that kindness interventions are effective in reducing depressive symptoms, especially in populations with subthreshold symptoms. However, little is known about its working mechanisms. The current study is aimed at examining the effects of an Acts of kindness intervention on subthreshold depressive symptoms and if positive and negative emotions play a mediating role in this context The current study used a randomized controlled trial design. 168 participants were allocated to either the Acts of kindness intervention (n =84) or the wait-list control condition (n= 84). The Acts of kindness intervention had a duration of six weeks. In total 5 assessments took place - at baseline, after two, four and six weeks of intervention and six weeks after the intervention. Depressive symptoms was the primary outcome measure (Center for Epidemiologic Studies- Depression Scale) and positive and negative emotions (modified Differential Emotions Scale) the mediating measures. The results of mixed ANOVAs suggest that AoK led to significantly greater decreases in negative emotions compared to the wait-list control condition but not to significant changes in positive emotions or depressive symptoms. Moreover, mediating effects of positive and negative emotions on the effectiveness of the AoK intervention could be found. The current study contributes to the growing body of research on kindness interventions, because it is the first to show decreasing effects on negative emotions among people with subthreshold depressive symptoms in the general Dutch population. Future studies may address other possible working mechanisms and replicate the effectiveness of AoK in reducing subthreshold depressive symptoms.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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