2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

Personal Agency and Interpersonal Communion Themes in Depression-Related Writing Samples


Emily E. Kinkade*, Bailey Holm, Anthony D. Rogers, Victoria Spain , and Nala Turner
Dr. Jeffrey Vittengl, Faculty Mentor

Agency (a sense of control over one’s actions and decisions) and communion (inclusion in large and small social groups) have correlated with mood cross-sectionally in past research. This study improved on past research by focusing on how agency and communion predict changes in mood. The hypothesis tested was that low agency and communion content in writing samples predict higher negative affect and depression, plus lower positive affect and well-being. Undergraduates (N=134) wrote freely about a time when they felt sad, down, or blue. Participants completed a mood measure before and after writing, plus a depression measure after writing. A coding procedure for quantifying agency and communion concepts in the writing samples was developed and used to score the writing samples reliably. In partial support of the hypothesis, agency correlated with higher well-being and increased negative affect. Future research should test whether agency is also relevant to long-term mood change. 

Keywords: Agency, Communion, Depression, Positive affect, Negative affect, Well-being


Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 13-
Location: GEO - SUB

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