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Repeated self-evaluations may involve familiarization: An exploratory study related to Ecological Momentary Assessment designs in patients with major depressive disorder

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

A growing body of research in clinical psychology is now relying on Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA). EMA is fitted to investigate fluctuating processes and as such, it is of particular interest in a clinical context in which patients are often characterized by fluctuating behaviors and affective states or symptoms. EMA typically involves frequent self-evaluations over long periods, which may influence patient response. The present study aimed to determine whether EMA follow-ups could influence the participants' self-evaluations over time. The sample comprised 24 outpatients suffering from a Major Depressive Disorder (15 women, age = 51.4 ± 9.6). This study relied on an EMA protocol involving self-evaluations of seven depressive symptoms twice a day over 5 months. Patients did not show any clinical improvement following the clinical screening and the level of depressive symptoms during the follow-up. As a novel finding, significant moderate to large effects were observed for decreased variability and instability of psychological states over time. The main difference in temporal properties of psychological states was found after the first two weeks of the follow-up. This study characterized early changes in patients' self-evaluations, suggesting the idea of a valuable familiarization period during the first two weeks of an EMA follow-up.
Journal: Psychiatry Research
ISSN: 0165-1781
Volume: 245
Pages: 99 - 104
Publication year:2016
Accessibility:Closed