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Supplementary Material for: How Response Styles Moderate the Relationship between Daily Stress and Social Interactions in Depression, Social Phobia, and Controls

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posted on 17.12.2020, 11:04 by Gloster A.T., Hoyer J., Karekla M., Meyer A., Bader K., Imboden C., Mikoteit T., Hatzinger M., Lieb R.
Introduction: Stress and social isolation are potent predictors of negative health outcomes and are impacted in mood and anxiety disorders. Difficulties in social interactions have been particularly noted in people diagnosed with major depression disorder (MDD) and social phobia (SP). It remains poorly understood, however, how these variables interact on a moment-to-moment basis and which variables moderate this relationship. Psychological flexibility, or the ability to be open to experiences while maintaining engagement in valued activities, may help moderate the relationship between stress and social interaction. Objective: This study examined these variables in participants diagnosed with MDD and SP and compared them to a control group. Methods: Participants were diagnosed with a mental disorder (n = 118 MDD; n = 47 SP) or were in the control group consisting of participants without MDD or SP (n = 119). Using the event sampling methodology (ESM), participants were queried six times per day for 7 days about stress, social interactions, and emotional response (rigid vs. flexible). Results: Higher current stress levels were related to more social interactions. This relationship was even stronger in situations when response flexibility was increased, especially in the clinical groups. Conclusions: Data suggest that a healthy psychological process (flexible emotional responding) buffers the relationship between stress and social interactions. We discuss how these variables interact and whether these patterns may paradoxically contribute to the maintenance of psychopathology.