Stress, Social Support and Depression Study

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Description Psychology 2219: Research Methods Experiment 3 Report Notes Stress, Social Support and Depression Study The study of the factors that influence the clinical level of depression experienced by participants has a long history in the field of psychology. Many different factors have been suggested as being important determinants of the level of depression. For example, one factor that has been observed to play a role in the level of depression is the level of stress that a person experiences with higher levels of stress being connected to higher levels of depression. Conversely, another factor which may act as a buffer to depression is the level of social support that person receives from others around them. Social support may act to lower the level of depression. In the current study you will have a dataset which contains measures of the following variables: the amount of social support coded as high or low, the amount of stress coded as high or low, and a measure of the level of depression, as well as demographic variables. Method In this study participants were assigned to one of four conditions in a 2 x 2 factorial design that were defined by the level of stress as measured by the amount of cortisol in the blood (High or Low) and whether or not the participant reported that they had high or low levels of social support from people around them. This combination leads to four different groups (1- Low SocSup/ High Stress; 2- High SocSup/High Stress; 3- Low SocSup/Low Stress; 4- High SocSup/Low Stress). The dependent variable measure was the self-reported level of depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Cortisol levels were measured in all participants at 9:00am by venipuncture and the collection of 2mL of blood. The absolute level of cortisol was quantified by radioimmunoassay and anyone with a cortisol value at or above 15micrograms/dL were placed into the high stress group and those below that level were placed in the low stress group. Social support was measured with the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL) which is a self-report measure of perceived social support. Scores of 18 or above were coded as high social support and scores below that level were coded as low social support. In addition, data were collected on age, race and gender from study participants. Results Calculate and present the descriptive statistics for demographic data for each of the four groups in a table. Calculate a factorial ANOVA on the depression level for the stress and social support groups. Conduct a second factorial ANOVA on the depression scores using stress and gender (another 2×2 Factorial). Report your findings in terms of main effects and interactions. If you find an interaction conduct appropriate follow-up analyses to determine the specific source of the significant differences (i.e. examine “simple main effects”). Plot a line graph of the mean scores for each of the four groups for both of your factorial ANOVAs (you should have two separate graphs). Discussion Briefly restate your main finding(s). Be sure to demonstrate that you really understand what your results mean. Discuss the following issues: 1) how do these results relate to the articles cited in the introduction of your paper 2) what do the results say about how the level of stress and the level of social support affects depression scores? 3) what do the results indicate about how stress and gender influence the depression scores? 4) can you identify any limitations or confounds in this study? 5) what future research direction would you propose based upon your findings here? References You should be able to find a lot of references for this topic area. Simply search for the key phrases social support, stress, and depression and you will find a lot of relevant material. For this paper please cite a minimum of 5 references.

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