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Does repeatedly reporting positive or negative emotions in daily life have an impact on the level of emotional experiences and depressive symptoms over time?
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
The extent to which people are aware of their emotional experiences, label them and communicate them to the outside world are considered to impact emotional experience itself and potentially people's depressive symptom levels. All of these aspects are important elements of one of the most common methods to study and measure emotions in the context of daily life, the so-called experience sampling method (ESM). A straightforward question that arises when using this method is whether participating in ESM may bring about changes in the momentary emotional self-reports of the people engaging in it, thereby effectively influencing that what it intends to measure; emotional experience over time, and whether this would relate to average levels of depressive symptoms. To examine these questions, we conducted a 7-day ESM study in which 90 participants were randomly assigned to repeatedly report either positive emotions only, negative emotions only or non-emotional internal states only, course using smartphones. Participants also completed pre-, post- and follow-up measurements of levels of depressive symptoms. Results showed no significant impact on self-reported momentary emotions, respective to their condition, over time nor on average levels of depressive symptoms across groups. These findings suggest that the repeated assessment of emotions in daily life, over the course of seven days, does not impact their emotional experience over time nor levels of depressive symptoms.
Journal: PloS one
Pages: 1 - 12