We experience thousands of moods, thoughts, and emotions throughout a single day, and smartphone technology has made it possible for us to measure them in real time. My name is Alexa Jimenez and I am a senior psychology major at the University at Buffalo. With the support of the Psychology Honors Thesis Program, I have been conducting research in the Affective Sciences and Emotions lab with Dr. Kristin Naragon-Gainey as my mentor. In collaboration with a graduate student, I have designed an honors thesis project with the purpose of developing and testing a self-report measurement tool that can be used to help us learn about depression and anxiety symptoms as they occur in daily life. It is important that our tools are accurate, valid, reliable, and appropriate for the context in which they are being used. However, there has been limited research on the quality of existing momentary symptom measurement methods. Without proper testing, how do we know that our measurement tools are effectively capturing symptoms rather than a strong emotional experience, or something else? My project will ensure that researchers will be able to gather more accurate measurements of symptoms as they occur in real time, and allow for better quality data to be collected.
Internalizing disorders are highly prevalent and costly in the United States, so it is imperative that psychological research clarifies the nature of these disorders and perfects methods for assessing their symptoms. One method, Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), involves the development of self-report assessments that can detect symptom fluctuations throughout daily life. However, many researchers have done so by borrowing items from existing retrospective self-report measures, which were originally aimed at capturing the persistent manifestation of symptoms over weeks to months, and using them in daily life contexts. This is being done without adequately testing the psychometric properties of the items and their suitability for capturing short term fluctuation of symptoms throughout a day. Therefore, this study aims to create and test short forms of the Dysphoria and Well-Being scales from the Inventory of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms-II for use in EMA studies.
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