Intraindividual Relations Between the Intensity and Disclosure of Daily Emotional Events: The Moderating Role of Depressive Symptoms

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Individuals with high levels of depressive symptoms tend to engage in lower levels of emotional disclosure than individuals who are lower in depressive symptoms. However, little is known about how depressive symptoms relate to the intraindividual relation between daily disclosure and the intensity of the daily events. The authors addressed these relations using a daily diary methodology. College students (N = 239) completed a measure of depression symptoms. They then completed measures of the intensity of the day’s most unpleasant event and their disclosure of that event each day for 7 days. Results indicated that depression moderated the intensity–disclosure relation such that depression symptoms were associated with diminished emotional disclosure for high-intensity events but not for low-intensity events. Individuals with relatively higher levels of depressive symptoms also experienced unpleasant daily events at a higher intensity level than did individuals with relatively fewer symptoms. Sex differences emerged such that men were less likely than women to disclose high-intensity negative events. These findings extend the use of the diary methodology to the study of emotional disclosure and also suggest possible interventions for counseling psychology practitioners.


This article was originally published as Garrison, A. M., & Kahn, J. H. (2010). Intraindividual relations between the intensity and disclosure of daily emotional events: The moderating role of depressive symptoms. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 57(2), 187–197.