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Implicit and Explicit Self-Esteem and Their Reciprocal Relationship With Symptoms of Depression and Social Anxiety: A Longitudinal Study in Adolescents

NCJ Number
Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry Volume: 45 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2014 Pages: 113-121
Lonneke A. van Tuijl; Peter J. de Jong; B. Esther Sportel; Eva de Hullu; Maaike H. Nauta
Date Published
March 2014
9 pages
This longitudinal study tested the association between implicit (automatic) and explicit (reflective) self-esteem and symptoms of adolescent depression and social anxiety disorder.
The study found partial support for the vulnerability model, in that low explicit (but not implicit) self-esteem was predictive of relatively high major depressive disorder (MDD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD) symptoms at follow-up, even when controlling for baseline symptomatology. The study also found that discrepant self-esteem did not add to the prediction of follow-up MDD and SAD symptomatology, as the interaction between explicit and implicit self-esteem showed no independent predictive value. There was no support for a scarring effect, either in explicit or implicit self-esteem. The partially significant vulnerability model suggests that explicit self-esteem interventions may prevent increases in SAD and MDD symptomatology. Current cognitive behavioral therapy for depression and anxiety already includes components that may have a direct effect on self-esteem; e.g., correcting negative self-talk. Study participants were 1,641 first and second year students in secondary schools in the Netherlands. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Self-Esteem Implicit Association Test, and the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale were completed in measuring explicit self-esteem, implicit self-esteem, and symptoms of SAD and MDD, respectively, at baseline and a 2-year follow-up. 6 tables and 54 references