Heartbreak: a model for depression


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    The aim of this study was to investigate whether the effect of romantic relationship breakup is a good model to characterize depressive symptoms in people without a psychiatric disorder. The second aim was to use this breakup model to explore factors that have been indicated to play a role in depression.
    We compared people who experienced a romantic relationship breakup within the preceding six months with people currently in a romantic relationship. We found more depressive symptoms among individuals who experienced a breakup. In addition, working memory alterations were found in this group.
    Furthermore, we investigated women who recently experienced a romantic relationship breakup for a study period of 30 weeks. The total group of women could be divided into four groups, labeled as: “resilience”, “fast recovery”, “slow recovery” and “chronic distress”. We found higher levels of the personality trait neuroticism in the “chronic distress group”. Furthermore, people who suffered from persistent symptoms displayed worse cognitive flexibility and we found a brain network, concerning the difference between processing of reward and punishment, that was more represented in this group.
    Taken together, we conclude that the effect of a romantic relationship breakup resembles a depression (-like) state and can therefore be considered a good model to study the development and recovery of depressive symptoms in healthy people. This way, we can gain valuable knowledge about factors that are important in the development of depression.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • ter Horst, Gert, Supervisor
    • Renken, Remco, Co-supervisor
    • Marsman, Jan Bernard, Co-supervisor
    Datum van toekenning26-jan.-2022
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    Gedrukte ISBN's978-94-6416-929-4
    StatusPublished - 2022

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