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The socio contextual relation between anxiety and depression : An experience sampling study

Möller, J. (2020) The socio contextual relation between anxiety and depression : An experience sampling study.

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Abstract:Depression and anxiety have been widely studied as traits, largely measured by cross-sectional studies, and therefore mostly regarded as stable individual constructs. Due to high comorbidity, overlapping behavioral influences and how both disorders share common ground on how they could be triggered in an individual a strong relationship is apparent. The experience sampling method (ESM) can be used to assess state dynamics which depict a more detailed picture than a pure trait assessment. The current study explores the relation between depression and anxiety over the course of two weeks via a daily assessment in 25 university students. The aims of this study were to explore emotional fluctuations over this period, their association with socio-context and their association with trait-levels of anxiety and depression. Analyses were performed using repeated-measures linear mixed models. The results showed a strong correlation between both state variables over time (B= 0.5, p<.001). Contact, in general, had a positive effect on both anxiety and depression compared with being alone, however, depression was most reactive to social contact and was highly reduced through close friends by averagely 10.62 on a 0-100 scale (M= 10.24, t= - 5.37, p< .001). Contact through electronic devices also significantly reduced depressive symptoms by 5.46 points (M= 15.62, t= -2.33, p= .02). Anxiety was only significantly reduced through contact with family members averagely by 3.34 points (M= 16.43, t= -2.92, p= .033) and through contact with close friends by 4.55 points (M= 15.31, t= -2.92, p<=.004). Also, only contact outside of their own home significantly associated with reduced anxiety by 8.90 points (M= 12.19, t= -4.04, p= .001). The trait scores were not significantly predictive of the degree of emotional fluctuations through a regression analysis, but an additional visual analysis of high and low trait groups suggested more fluctuating values for high depression individuals. The implications from this study are that state depression and anxiety also seem to share an underlying factor and that the positive effect of social support is perceptible through electronic devices, especially in the case of depression, posing an argument for future online interventions based on experience sampling.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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