ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 4, Issue 2, 118-132, 2013
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Acute Stress Increases Implicit Depression and Decreases Implicit Self-Esteem

Daan H.M. Creemers(a),(b), Ron H.J. Scholte(b), Rutger C.M.E. Engels(b), Sara Pieters(b), Reinout W. Wiers(c)
(a) Mental Health Care Institute: GGZ Oost-Brabant, Burg. Kuyperlaan 5, 5461 AA Veghel, The Netherlands
(b) Radboud University Nijmegen, Behavioural Science Institute, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands
(c) University of Amsterdam, Roeterstraat 15, 1018 WB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Volume 4, Issue 2, 2013, Pages 118-132

According to cognitive theories, internalizing problems are the result of the activation of dysfunctional attitudes (e.g., negative self-thoughts) in memory in response to stressful life events. Dual process models posit that associative and reflective cognitive processes may respond differently to stressful life events and may affect the development of psychopathology. According to these models, self-relevant stimuli activate both associative and reflective processes. However, previous research has focused mainly on reflective processes using explicit assessment instruments. The main aim of the present study was to examine the effect of acute stress on both associative and reflective cognitive processes by using implicit and explicit measures of self-esteem and depression. Participants were 95 university students (M = 23.3 years, SD = .37, 79 females). Implicit and explicit measures of self-esteem and depression were administered before and after a stress-induction procedure. The results showed that acute stress increased implicit depression (p < .01) and decreased implicit self-esteem (p < .05) but did not affect explicit measures of self-esteem and depression (p-values ≥ .44). Together, these findings offer new insights into the relationship of stress with implicit and explicit attitudes and provide experimental support for dual process models.

Table of Contents
  Explicit self-esteem.
  Depressive symptoms.
  Implicit self-esteem.
  Implicit depression.
  Plan of analyses.
 Group Differences in Baseline
  Relationship between implicit and explicit measures.
  Manipulation check.
 Anxiety (STAI-State)
 Effect of Stress Induction on Implicit Measures
  Implicit self esteem.
  Implicit depression.
 Effect of Stress Induction on Explicit Measures
  Explicit self esteem.
  Explicit depressive symptoms.
Declaration of Interest
Appendix: Stimuli for Depression IAT

Correspondence to
Daan H.M. Creemers, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6500 HE, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Implicit, Explicit, Depression, Attitude, Self-Esteem, Dual-process

Received 17 Oct 2011; Revised 19 Jun 2012; Accepted 26 Jun 2012; In Press 27 Jan 2013

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