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Is sensitivity to daily stress predictive of onset or persistence of psychopathology?

Vaessen, T., van Nierop, M., Decoster, J., Delespaul, P., Derom, C., de Hert, M., Jacobs, N., Menne-Lothmann, C., Rutten, B., Thiery, E., van Os, J., van Winkel, R., Wichers, M. & Myin-Germeys, I., Sep-2017, In : European Psychiatry. 45, p. 167-173 7 p.

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  • Is sensitivity to daily stress predictive of onset or persistence of psychopathology?

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DOI

  • T. Vaessen
  • M. van Nierop
  • J. Decoster
  • P. Delespaul
  • C. Derom
  • M. de Hert
  • N. Jacobs
  • C. Menne-Lothmann
  • B. Rutten
  • E. Thiery
  • J. van Os
  • R. van Winkel
  • M. Wichers
  • I. Myin-Germeys

Purpose: The aim of the current study was to replicate findings in adults indicating that higher sensitivity to stressful events is predictive of both onset and persistence of psychopathological symptoms in a sample of adolescents and young adults. In addition, we tested the hypothesis that sensitivity to mild stressors in particular is predictive of the developmental course of psychopathology.

Methods: We analyzed experience sampling and questionnaire data collected at baseline and one-year follow-up of 445 adolescent and young adult twins and non-twin siblings (age range: 15-34). Linear multilevel regression was used for the replication analyses. To test if affective sensitivity to mild stressors in particular was associated with follow-up symptoms, we used a categorical approach adding variables on affective sensitivity to mild, moderate and severe daily stressors to the model.

Results: Linear analyses showed that emotional stress reactivity was not associated with onset (β = .02; P = .56) or persistence (β = −.01; P = .78) of symptoms. There was a significant effect of baseline symptom score (β = .53; P < .001) and average negative affect (NA: β = .19; P < .001) on follow-up symptoms. Using the categorical approach, we found that affective sensitivity to mild (β = .25; P < .001), but not moderate (β = −.03; P = .65) or severe (β = −.06; P = .42), stressors was associated with symptom persistence one year later.

Discussion: We were unable to replicate previous findings relating stress sensitivity linearly to symptom onset or persistence in a younger sample. Whereas sensitivity to more severe stressors may reflect adaptive coping, high sensitivity to the mildest of daily stressors may indicate an increased risk for psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Volume45
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2017

    Keywords

  • Experience sampling method, Stress reactivity, Epidemiology, Prospective, Longitudinal, DAILY-LIFE STRESS, EXPERIENCE SAMPLING RESEARCH, EMOTIONAL REACTIVITY, PSYCHOTIC EXPERIENCES, PSYCHOSOCIAL STRESS, AFFECTIVE-DISORDER, SALIVARY CORTISOL, NEGATIVE AFFECT, GENETIC RISK, INDIVIDUALS

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