The social context of positive and negative affective states in depressed youth

Ashley D. Kendall*, Joshua Wilt, Courtney E. Walls, Emily A. Scherer, William R. Beardslee, William Revelle, Lydia A. Shrier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Depression, which is characterized by low positive affect (PA) and high negative affect (NA), is relatively common during late adolescence and young adulthood. During this period, interaction with an increasing social sphere gains importance, and interest in romantic companions assumes a central role. However, little is known about how PA and NA manifest in the daily lives of depressed youth, particularly in romantic settings. Current companionship, location, and affect were assessed 4 to 6 times per day over 2 weeks in 51 adolescents and young adults (mean age = 18 years) with clinically-significant depressive symptoms. Multilevel modeling was used to examine the associations of companionship and location with changes in the between-person mean effects as well as the within-person covariation effects of PA and NA. Generally, when alone versus with people, PA decreased, NA increased, and changes in the levels of PA and NA were relatively independent of each other. In the context of romantic companionship, in general, PA increased and NA decreased, but these changes were more strongly inversely linked. The implications for understanding the emotional experiences of depressed youth, as well as informing the development of treatments for this population, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-830
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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