Category: Adult Depression / Dysthymia
The severity of vegetative symptoms in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) varies across the day (Meyers, 2015). The emotion regulation literature shows that coping strategies can affect mood outcomes and symptoms themselves (Van Meter & Youngstrom, 2016). Meyers (2015) investigated how coping with the vegetative symptoms of hunger and fatigue using distraction, acceptance, and rumination affect mood. The present experience sampling method study expands on previous research by exploring how distraction, acceptance, and rumination influence the severity of fatigue and hunger symptoms themselves across periods of approximately 2.5 hours. Participants were community members who reported typically experiencing at least mild seasonal symptomatology and currently were experiencing at least mild symptom severity of both hunger and fatigue. Those individuals who endorsed substance abuse, psychosis, manic symptoms, using light therapy, active suicidal ideation, and located below 39 degrees latitude were excluded. After completing initial questionnaires, participants were signaled via mobile phone 5 times a day, every day for 7 days to complete the time stamped questionnaire. Data were analyzed using Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE; Zeger & Liang, 1986; Zeger, Liang, & Albert, 1988) with symptom severity at Time t and one coping strategy (rumination, positive distraction, negative distraction, or acceptance) at Time t predicting symptom severity at Time t+1. Results indicated that positive and negative distraction in response to fatigue, but not rumination or acceptance, significantly predicted fatigue severity 2.5 hours later. Thus, those individuals who experience fatigue and who reallocate their attention towards positive experiences or away from negative experiences in response to their fatigue are exacerbating their fatigue severity 2.5 hours later.