Daily Stressful Experiences Precede But Do Not Succeed Depressive Symptoms: Results from a Longitudinal Experience Sampling Study

Brose, A., Wichers, M. & Kuppens, P., Mar-2017, In : Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 36, 3, p. 196-220 25 p.

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  • Daily Stressful Experiences Precede But Do Not Succeed Depressive Symptoms

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This study investigates the proposition that micro-level experiences in the realm of stress (e.g., daily stress exposure) are among the building blocks of maladjustment, in particular, depression. Data were collected with experience sampling methods and in the lab. A sample of 202 students who had just entered university participated in a three-wave longitudinal study (October 2012-October 2013). Each wave consisted of the assessment of depressive symptoms and the examination of stressful experiences in daily life by means of experience sampling (70 occasions per wave). Cross-lagged panel models revealed that the perceived intensity of daily stressors, stressed and depressed feelings in daily life, as well as depressed reactions to daily stressors predict an increase in future depressive symptoms in young females but not males. Other cross-lagged effects, particularly from depressive symptoms to stressful experiences in daily life, were not significant. Findings are in line with the stress exposure model according to which stress can cause increases in depressive symptoms. Importantly, this study focused on stressful experiences in daily life. Micro-level experiences thus seem to be among the etiological factors of depression. We discuss consequences of these findings and possibilities to alleviate the burden of depression in individuals and society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-220
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2017


  • stress, depression, maladjustment, experience sampling, micro-level experiences, stress exposure model, MAJOR DEPRESSION, DAILY-LIFE, NEGATIVE AFFECT, SELF-REPORT, EVENTS, PSYCHOPATHOLOGY, REACTIVITY, FUTURE, ONSET, MODEL

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