Desired emotional closeness moderates the prospective relations between levels of perceived emotional closeness and psychological distress

Luis E. Flores, Howard Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The present study investigated the relations between two facets of psychological distress-worry and depression-and emotional closeness, which can be a type of social regulation of emotion. The moderating impact of desired emotional closeness was also investigated. A sample of 135 undergraduates completed baseline measures and seven daily measures of perceived emotional closeness, depressive symptoms, and worry. Using multilevel modeling, bidirectional relations were tested by prospectively predicting the next day's level of emotional closeness, depressive symptoms, or worry. The prospective relations were mostly moderated by desired emotional closeness, such that prospective relations were mostly found at high levels of desired emotional closeness. At high levels of desired emotional closeness, a bidirectional seeking-alleviation model best described relations involving worry, such that worry positively predicted emotional closeness and emotional closeness negatively predicted worry. Also at high levels of desired emotional closeness, a unidirectional alleviation model described relations involving depression, such that emotional closeness negatively predicted depressive symptoms but depressive symptoms did not predict emotional closeness. The present findings suggest that at high levels of desired emotional closeness, emotional closeness may be one way that intimate relationships help protect against psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-700
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume33
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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