Prospective relationship between affective reactivity to daily stress and depressive symptoms
Parrish, Brendt P.
University of Delaware
The current study was based on O’Neill, Cohen, Tolpin, and Gunthert (2004) and was designed to evaluate the direction of the relationship between affective reactivity to daily stress and depressive symptoms. College students were assessed at two time periods (time 1 and time 2) with questionnaires measuring their current depressive symptoms and with daily diaries measuring their interpersonal and non-interpersonal stressors and their negative affect (NA) and positive affect (PA). We calculated indices of daily affective reactivity based on the respective within-person relationships between daily affect (NA and PA) and number of daily interpersonal and non-interpersonal stressors. Consistent with O’Neill et al., the results demonstrated that time 1 NA reactivity to daily interpersonal stressors predicted time 2 depressive symptoms. Unlike O’Neill et al., the results also demonstrated the predictive role of time 1 NA reactivity to daily non-interpersonal stressors. The results also suggested that these NA reactivity-depressive symptom relationships are unidirectional. Overall, the findings suggest that NA reactivity to daily stressors is a vulnerability factor for depression, and they highlight the value of a daily diary design in evaluating the antecedents and outcomes of psychopathology.