2016 Student Research Conference:
29th Annual Student Research Conference

Implicit Theories and Symptom Severity in Depression Blogs
Meghan LaMarche
Dr. Jeffrey R. Vittengl, Faculty Mentor

The current study analyzed writing in blogs about depression. It was hypothesized that writing from a biological perspective would predict higher depressive symptoms, whereas writing from psychological and sociological perspectives would predict lower depressive symptoms. Writers (N=196), with at least 3 entries of 100 words, were selected from blog sites focusing on depression, yielding 3,128 blog entries. Each blog entry was scored for word- use match to biological, psychological, or sociological writing in academic journal articles about depression. Additionally, blog entries were scored for depression symptom severity, using a dictionary developed from standard clinical interviews and self-report measures of depression. Results supported the hypothesis. Within subjects, writing from a biological perspective predicted higher depressive symptoms. Both within and between subjects, writing from psychological and sociological perspectives predicted lower depressive symptoms. This research did not test causal connections between writing style and depressive symptoms directly, suggesting a focus for future experiments.

Keywords: Depression, Symptoms, Blogs, Psychology, Sociology, Biology

Topic(s):Psychology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 11-8
Location: GEO-SUB
Time: 3:30

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