E-mail communications among people with and without major depressive disorder

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E-mail communications among people with and without major depressive disorder

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dc.contributor.advisor Pennebaker, James W.
dc.creator Baddeley, Jenna L.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-10-23T14:53:30Z
dc.date.available 2012-10-23T14:53:30Z
dc.date.created 2012-08
dc.date.issued 2012-10-23
dc.date.submitted August 2012
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2152/ETD-UT-2012-08-5916
dc.description.abstract Social interactions affect the onset and maintenance of major depressive disorder (MDD; e.g., Hammen, 2006). However, little research has examined depressed people’s communications in daily life. This dissertation’s primary aim is to test three models of the association between MDD and everyday communication. The disclosure model suggests that people with MDD, particularly if currently depressed, communicate about themselves and their distress. The social disengagement model suggests that people with MDD, particularly if currently depressed, communicate less. The selectivity model suggests that people with MDD, particularly if currently depressed, communicate more negatively only with people with whom they have closer relationships. This dissertation’s second aim is to investigate associations between communication patterns of individuals with MDD and residual depressive symptoms. Sixteen women with MDD and 15 never-depressed women submitted a year’s worth of their e-mails with up to ten correspondents. For participants with MDD the year included at least one month of depression and one month of remission. E-mails were submitted to computerized text analysis. For the primary research question, the study design was conceptualized as a 2x2 between-subjects (MDD vs. never-depressed) x within-subjects (currently depressed vs. not currently depressed) ANOVA missing one cell (never-depressed individuals with currently depression). Data were e-mails nested within correspondents within participants and were analyzed using multi-level regression. For the second research question, OLS regression analyses were used. People with MDD e-mailed their correspondents marginally more frequently when in a depressive episode, suggesting increased efforts at engagement. During episodes, however, participants showed less verbal synchrony with their correspondents. This suggests that despite reaching out more, currently depressed people are less attuned with others. People with major depressive disorder used more positive emotion words and fewer negative emotion words than never-depressed controls. Although there was a general pattern among participants of using more negative emotion words with correspondents with whom they had closer relationships, this tendency was accentuated in depressed individuals in current major depressive episodes. These findings are consistent with the view that individuals – particularly when depressed – regulate aspects of their communication to protect and manage their social relationships.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject Depression
dc.subject Major depressive disorder
dc.subject Communication
dc.subject Electronic mail
dc.subject Computer-mediated communication
dc.subject Social interaction
dc.subject Social relationships
dc.title E-mail communications among people with and without major depressive disorder
dc.date.updated 2012-10-23T14:53:40Z
dc.identifier.slug 2152/ETD-UT-2012-08-5916
dc.contributor.committeeMember Beevers, Christopher G.
dc.contributor.committeeMember Beer, Jennifer S.
dc.contributor.committeeMember Hixon, John G.
dc.contributor.committeeMember Rude, Stephanie S.
dc.description.department Psychology
dc.type.genre thesis
dc.type.material text
thesis.degree.department Psychology
thesis.degree.discipline Clinical Psychology
thesis.degree.grantor University of Texas at Austin
thesis.degree.level Doctoral
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy

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