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Exploring the association between quantitative and qualitative social interactions on well-being moderated by depression : an experience sampling study

Hesselink, Janis Ole (2022) Exploring the association between quantitative and qualitative social interactions on well-being moderated by depression : an experience sampling study.

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Abstract:Background: Research shows that more and more people are feeling lonely nowadays, which acts as an accelerator and risk factor for the development of depression. It is well known that positive social interactions and meaningful relationships play an important part in a person’s overall well-being. However, there is less research about the importance of social interactions and contacts during everyday life. Thus, this study examines the relationship between quantity and perceived quality of social interactions on well-being. Depression is included as a moderator variable to test whether the relationship between the quality of social interactions on well-being differs according to the individual’s level of depression. Method: The Experience Sampling Method was used to collect the data in the present study. In total 37 participants (mean age = 24.68, 70.30% female) were included in the analysis who filled out the questionnaire three times a day over two weeks. Momentary well-being was assessed using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. Social contact has been measured by asking participants whether they had a contact and, if yes, how they perceived this contact in terms of perceived quality. Lastly, depression was measured by using the PHQ-9 questionnaire. Linear mixed models were used to analyse the associations. The Johnson Neymann method was applied to probe the interaction. Results: The findings of this study show that a higher number of social interactions can be associated with increased positive affect (B = .29, p < .001). The quality of the contacts had an even stronger relation on wellbeing showing that perceived positive contacts have a positive association on positive affect (B = 1.49, p < 0.001). Further, when depression is included in the analysis described previously, the interaction effect on positive affect is significant (B = 0.59, p < 0.01). Testing the interaction on negative affect the findings for positive perceived social interaction show a decrease in negative affect (B = -0.99, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Especially, the preliminary finding that depression works as a moderator, showing that with higher levels of depression, the association between quality social interactions on well-being increases, is unique. Thus, positively perceived interactions can be an important factor in improving the momentary well-being, especially in depressed people. Nevertheless, the findings need to be taken with caution considering the limitations. As this study only entails a low amount of people having a severe depression it is advised to analyse the relation again having a representative sample with more people suffering from a severe depression.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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