Anxious Moods as a Risk Factor for Depressed Moods: an Ecological Momentary Assessment of Those with Clinical Anxiety and Depression

Open Access
Jacobson, Nicholas Charles
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
May 13, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Michelle Gayle Newman, Thesis Advisor
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • ecological momentary assessment
  • physiology
  • heart rate
  • fatigue
  • arousal
Anxious and depressed moods are highly concurrently related. Despite their strong concurrent relationship, little research has examined the longitudinal relationship between them. Using ecological momentary assessment, the current study examined when anxious moods predicted later depressed moods and whether arousal and fatigue mediated this relationship in those with pure clinical anxiety, pure clinical depression, mixed clinical anxiety-depression, and non-anxious/non-depressed controls. Participants (N = 159) completed momentary measures of anxious and depressed moods, arousal, heart rate, and fatigue every hour while they were awake for seven days. The results were analyzed using differential time-varying effect models and state space models to investigate when constructs were associated with one another. The results suggested that anxious moods positively predicted later depressed moods, and depressed moods positively predicted later anxious moods. Further, low perceived arousal and high fatigue jointly mediated the relationship between anxious and later depressed moods for all groups. High heart rate mediated the relationship between anxious and depressed moods for those with both pure clinical anxiety and pure clinical depression. For those with pure clinical depression, high heart rate variability and high fatigue mediated a positive relationship between anxious and later depressed moods, and, for those with pure clinical anxiety, low heart rate variability and low fatigue mediated a negative relationship between anxious and depressed moods. Taken together, these findings indicate that anxious and depressed moods are bi-directional short-term risk factors for one another, and arousal and fatigue mediate this relationship.