Login | Register

Risk processes implicated in the development of depression and anxiety-spectrum disorders


Risk processes implicated in the development of depression and anxiety-spectrum disorders

Salerno, Frank (2009) Risk processes implicated in the development of depression and anxiety-spectrum disorders. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

[thumbnail of NR63373.pdf]
Text (application/pdf)
NR63373.pdf - Accepted Version


The purpose of this study was to examine risk processes linking il1dividual differences in personal resources to symptoms of anxiety and depression. The construct of personal resources was defined as a higher order factor subsuming the traits of self-esteem, self-efficacy, optimism, locus of control, and anxiety. Hypotheses related to three models of psychiatric risk were assessed: (1) the direct-link model, which posits that deficiencies in personal resources are directly associated with elevated risk for clinical anxiety and depression; (2) the stress-moderation model, which places emphasis on the interaction of personal resources with responses to stressors in ways that either increase or decrease the risk for anxiety disorders and depression; and (3) the stress-generation model, which links the risk for anxiety disorders and depression with a propensity to generate stress related to deficiencies in personal resources. One-hundred-thirty-one university students took part in two testing sessions. The first session included a mock job interview whereby participants were challenged by the stress-inducing task of preparing and delivering a speech before a panel of two' staff members' acting as personnel managers. Three indices of stress reactivity were used: affective state, heart rate variability (HRV), and selective attention to threat words. Participants also completed a stress questionnaire designed to assess the degree of stress they experienced in situations of normative challenge (e.g., having a paper to write), self-generated or dependent stress (e.g., time management issues), and in response to independent events (e.g., death of a family member). Approximately six months after the first testing session participants completed measures of clinical anxiety and depression. Results of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) and Hierarchical Regression analyses pointed to risk processes common to depression and anxiety, and others specific to each. Low personal resources and stress generation were associated with a vulnerability to both types of disorder. However, these mechanisms of risk were more closely linked to depression than anxiety. Low-resource individuals appear to magnify relatively minor life stresses, thereby increasing their vulnerability to depression. Independent stress, however, was a stronger predictor of vulnerability to anxiety than was level of personal resources, dependent stress, or normative challenge. In addition, independent stress was the primary feature of an interaction with dependent stress that placed low-resource individuals at risk for anxiety-spectrum disorders. Thus, it appears that the risk for depression is more closely associated with the negative perceptions that are characteristic of those low in personal resources, whereas the risk of an anxiety-spectrum disorder is more closely associated with exposure to negative independent life events.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Salerno, Frank
Pagination:x, 174 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Thesis Supervisor(s):Schwartzman, Alex
Identification Number:LE 3 C66P79P 2009 S25
ID Code:976421
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:25
Last Modified:13 Jul 2020 20:10
Related URLs:
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads per month over past year

Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
- Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
Back to top Back to top