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Examining stress and residual symptoms in remitted and partially remitted depression using a wearable electrodermal activity device: A pilot study

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posted on 2023-08-23, 13:40 authored by Aoife WhistonAoife Whiston, Eric Raymond IgouEric Raymond Igou, Dónal FortuneDónal Fortune, Maria Semkovska

Consistent evidence suggests residual symptoms and stress are the most reliable predictors of relapse in remitted depression. Prevailing methodologies often do not enable continuous real-time sampling of stress. Thus, little is known about day-to-day interactions between residual symptoms and stress in remitted depression. In preparation for a full-scale trial, this study aimed to pilot a wrist-worn wearable electrodermal activity monitor: ADI (Analog Devices, Inc.) Study Watch for assessing interactions between physiological stress and residual depressive symptoms following depression remission. 13 individuals remitted from major depression completed baseline, daily diary, and post-daily diary assessments. Self-reported stress and residual symptoms were measured at baseline and post-daily diary. Diary assessments required participants to wear ADI’s Study Watch during waking hours and complete self-report questionnaires every evening over one week. Sleep problems, fatigue, energy loss, and agitation were the most frequently reported residual symptoms. Average skin conductance responses (SCRs) were 16.09 per-hour, with an average of 11.30 hours of wear time per-day. Increased residual symptoms were associated with enhanced self-reported stress on the same day. Increased SCRs on one day predicted increased residual symptoms on the next day. This study showed a wearable electrodermal activity device can be recommended for examining stress as a predictor of remitted depression. This study also provides preliminary work on relationships between residual symptoms and stress in remitted depression. Importantly, significant findings from the small sample of this pilot are preliminary with an aim to follow up with a 3-week full-scale study to draw conclusions about psychological processes explored.



IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine, 2023, vol. 11, pp. 96-106


IEEE Computer Society

Other Funding information

This work was supported by the Irish Research Council (IRC) and Analog Devices through the IRC Enterprise Partnership Scheme under Grant EPSPG/2020/487

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  • Psychology

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