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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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Everyday Emotional Experiences in Major Depressive Disorder in Remission: An Experience Sampling Study

The everyday emotional experiences of people with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) are characterized by elevated levels, variance, and inertia of negative affect. Despite advances in treatment, some of which target these aberrant emotional patterns, the prevalence of MDD has not decreased in the last 20 years. The current study examined whether these patterns also characterize those whose MDD is in remission. We recruited individuals with MDD who were in a current major depressive episode (MDE; current group; n=37) or who had experienced at least two MDEs in full remission (remitted group; n=70) and never-depressed individuals (control group; n=76). Participants reported on their momentary affect five times per day for 14 days. From these ratings, we computed the mean, variance, and inertia of negative affect. There were significant differences between all groups in the mean and variance of negative affect; the current group had the highest levels, the control group had the lowest levels, and the remitted group fell in between. There were no group differences in inertia of negative affect. These findings highlight the emotional architecture of those whose MDD is in remission and provide insight into viable options for improving prevention efforts to decrease the recurrence of MDD.

Renee Thompson
Washington University in St. Louis

Natasha Bailen
Washington University in St. Louis


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