American University
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The role of cognitive vulnerability to depression on the relationship between sleep and cognitive-emotional functioning

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posted on 2023-08-04, 09:07 authored by Caitlyn A. Loucas

Although there is extensive literature exploring the impact of poor sleep on the cognitive and emotional dysregulation commonly found in depression disorders, research has not yet examined whether an individual’s level of cognitive vulnerability to depression (CV-D) moderates this relationship in the absence of high depressive symptoms. Increased sensitivity to poor sleep could represent one pathway through which vulnerable individuals progress into emergence of clinical depression. Ninety undergraduate college students with non-clinical depression scores reported their event appraisals, affect, and cognitions for one week using daily surveys. During this time, nightly sleep was recorded using Fitbit and ActiGraph devices. Results showed that, overall, cognitive vulnerability to depression did not moderate the relationship between sleep and cognitive-emotional functioning across most assessed outcome variables; however, where significant effects existed, individuals with higher levels of CV-D showed either no change or improvement in cognitive-emotional outcomes under conditions of poor sleep, compared to the uniformly poorer outcomes reported by their peers with low CV-D. This research highlighted the importance of understanding the interaction of daily sleep with an individual’s cognitive framework in order to predict cognitive-emotional functioning, especially in environments where disrupted sleep is common.



American University


Degree Awarded: M.A. Psychology. American University


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