Category: Comorbidity - Anxiety and Other

Symposium

Effect of Depression Variability on Later Anxiety for Those With Depressive Disorders

Saturday, November 18
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Aqua Salon E & F, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: Anxiety | Depression | Ecological Momentary Assessment
Presentation Type: Symposium

Research has shown that greater depression variability—representing the instability of depression across diverse contexts in one’s daily life—leads to greater depression symptom elevation. Because depression variability may reflect deficits in one’s ability to regulate negative emotions (Roberts & Gotlib, 1997), it is likely this dysregulation could have ramifications for other negative emotions. Further, depression predicts later anxiety at both the symptom and disorder level (Jacobson & Newman, 2017). However, no work has examined the impact of depression variability on later anxiety elevation. Given the prospective relationships between depression and later anxiety, research is needed to determine whether depression variability predicts later anxiety symptom elevation in controls and those with depressive disorders. Using data from an ecological momentary assessment where participants (= 394) were prompted once per hour for one week, participants completed measures of momentary anxiety and depression (= 8 prompts per person per day). The probability of acute change of momentary depressed mood for each day was used to predict later anxiety and depression symptom elevation across the week. The results controlled for the effects of earlier anxiety, depression, and anxiety variability on later anxiety and depression. For those with depressive disorders (= 63), depression variability significantly predicted greater anxiety symptom elevation 1-3 days later (= 0.39), but depression variability did not significantly predict anxiety for controls (= 331). For those with depressive diagnoses, depression variability did not significantly predict later depression, but, for the control group, high depression variability predicted significantly lower depressive symptoms 1-5 days later (= 0.61). This suggests that increased depression dysregulation may be a short-term maintenance factor for elevated anxiety symptoms, but not depression symptoms, for those with depressive disorders.

Nicholas C. Jacobson

Graduate student
The Pennsylvania State University

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