Ecological momentary assessment of emotional processing: An exploratory analysis comparing daily life and a psychotherapy analogue session


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Ecological momentary assessment of emotional processing: An exploratory analysis comparing daily life and a psychotherapy analogue session
Counselling and Psychotherapy Research
Beuchat Hélène, Grandjean Loris, Despland Jean-Nicolas, Pascual-Leone Antonio, Gholam Mehdi, Swendsen Joel, Kramer Ueli
Publication state
In Press
Background: Emotional processing has been studied in psychotherapy as a state-dependent, sequential process of change. So far, no studies have applied this conceptualisation of emotional processing to the assessments of emotion in daily life. This is particularly important in the light of the pertinence of day-by-day fluctuations of emotions for understanding mental health and for monitoring the impact of prevention and psychotherapy programmes. This study examined the internal and ecological validity of a state-dependent conceptualisation of emotional processing in daily life, in comparison with an experiential-psychodynamic psychotherapy analogue session.
Methods: In total, N = 42 university students participated in an experiential-psychodynamic session, completed symptom measures and responded to a one-week period of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) using a smartphone. Emotional processing in the session was assessed using the valid observer-rated measure Classification of Affective Meaning States (CAMS), and emotional responses in daily life were assessed using newly developed theory-consistent items self-rated via an interactive smartphone program.
Results: Internal validity was generally satisfactory across the subscales used in EMA. Correspondence between EMA and in-session emotional processing was generally low, but specific relationships were found between self-rated fear, rejecting anger, hurt/grief or loneliness and the observer-rated productive emotions in the psychotherapy analogue session. Relationships between maladaptive emotional processing and intensity in symptoms were found.
Conclusions: This is the first study to have examined the validity of a state-dependent conception of emotional processing in daily life, in direct comparison with a psychological session. We recommend using this assessment schedule to develop or complement integrative prevention or intervention programmes.
assessment, ecological momentary assessment, emotion transformation, emotional processing, psychotherapy integration, validation
Web of science
Open Access
Swiss National Science Foundation
University of Lausanne
Create date
20/08/2021 16:30
Last modification date
20/11/2021 8:14
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