Short Communication: Prospective evidence for a reciprocal relationship between sense of control and depressive symptoms following a flood

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Abstract

The purpose of this research is to test a feedback loop between sense of control and depressive symptoms within the context of a flood. Prospective cohort data were gathered from 1735 individuals that assessed the respondent's state prior to experiencing a flood. Path analysis is used to test for a reciprocal association between change in sense of control and change in depressive symptoms. The flood was indirectly associated with sense of control through depressive symptoms. Sense of control was negatively associated with change in depressive symptoms, and depressive symptoms were negatively associated with change in sense of control. Experiencing a flood is associated with more depressive symptoms, which in turn may undermine the sense of control over one's life. Likewise, lower sense of control associated with a flood is related to higher depressive symptoms. A reciprocal model not only implies that sense of control and depressive symptoms may mutually affect one another, but also that stressors may indirectly affect sense of control through depressive symptoms, which could lead individuals to be more vulnerable to future stress.

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