Publications by authors named "Mathias Allemand"

48 Publications

Exploring change in cognitive-behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorder-A two-arms ABAB crossed-therapist randomized clinical implementation trial.

J Consult Clin Psychol 2021 Apr 8. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Department of Psychology.

Objective: There is little evidence-based knowledge of how psychotherapists should handle both sudden gains and more gradual session-by-session changes, either in general or in individuals suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.

Methods: Using an ABAB crossed-therapist randomized clinical implementation trial design ( = 80 patients and 20 therapists), we contrasted a (PFC, = 40) implementation with a (SOTA, = 40) implementation. Both implementations were based on a widely used cognitive behavioral therapy approach (Mastery of your Anxiety and Worry package) with the only difference that in the PFC implementation, the therapists were instructed to systematically explore eventual changes at the beginning of the therapy sessions.

Results: Based on a 3-level hierarchical linear model, PFC implementation showed faster symptom reduction in worry over therapy (i.e., linear change) and a decelerated (quadratic) change until 12-month follow-up in comparison to the SOTA implementation.

Conclusion: These findings provide clinically useful information about potential short-term and long-term effects of exploring occurring change in GAD populations. Randomized clinical implementation trial designs are a step forward allowing to experimentally investigate basic psychotherapeutic strategies in process-based psychotherapy. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000639DOI Listing
April 2021

When the end feels near: sense of purpose predicts well-being as a function of future time perspective.

Aging Ment Health 2021 Mar 1:1-11. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Objectives: While sense of purpose is a robust predictor of well-being, little work has considered whether the associations vary based on future time perspective. Exploring this possibility is important given that the extent to which one may pursue their life aims could be dependent upon how much time they feel that they have remaining.

Methods: Using three samples (total  = 2333), the current study considered the association between sense of purpose and future time perspective. Moderation tests also examined whether the associations between sense of purpose and three well-being components (positive affect, negative affect, life satisfaction) differed as a function of future time perspective.

Results: Across all three studies, people with a broader time perspective reported a higher sense of purpose. Both constructs predicted greater well-being, even after accounting for chronological age. Future time perspective moderated the associations between sense of purpose and well-being, such that the negative association between sense of purpose and negative affect was stronger for those with a broader time perspective and the positive association between sense of purpose and life satisfaction was stronger for those with a limited time perspective.

Conclusion: The well-being benefits associated with sense of purpose in adulthood may depend on future time perspective. Findings are discussed in the context of how purpose can be harnessed to enhance well-being even when older adults feel that their time left is limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2021.1891203DOI Listing
March 2021

Trajectories of Big Five Personality Traits: A Coordinated Analysis of 16 Longitudinal Samples.

Eur J Pers 2020 May 1;34(3):301-321. Epub 2020 May 1.

Northwestern University, Chicago, IL USA.

This study assessed change in self-reported Big Five personality traits. We conducted a coordinated integrative data analysis using data from 16 longitudinal samples, comprising a total sample of over 60 000 participants. We coordinated models across multiple datasets and fit identical multi-level growth models to assess and compare the extent of trait change over time. Quadratic change was assessed in a subset of samples with four or more measurement occasions. Across studies, the linear trajectory models revealed declines in conscientiousness, extraversion, and openness. Non-linear models suggested late-life increases in neuroticism. Meta-analytic summaries indicated that the fixed effects of personality change are somewhat heterogeneous and that the variability in trait change is partially explained by sample age, country of origin, and personality measurement method. We also found mixed evidence for predictors of change, specifically for sex and baseline age. This study demonstrates the importance of coordinated conceptual replications for accelerating the accumulation of robust and reliable findings in the lifespan developmental psychological sciences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/per.2259DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869960PMC
May 2020

Changing personality traits with the help of a digital personality change intervention.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Feb;118(8)

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland;

Personality traits predict important life outcomes, such as success in love and work life, well-being, health, and longevity. Given these positive relations to important outcomes, economists, policy makers, and scientists have proposed intervening to change personality traits to promote positive life outcomes. However, nonclinical interventions to change personality traits are lacking so far in large-scale naturalistic populations. This study ( = 1,523) examined the effects of a 3-mo digital personality change intervention using a randomized controlled trial and the smartphone application PEACH (PErsonality coACH). Participants who received the intervention showed greater self-reported changes compared to participants in the waitlist control group who had to wait 1 mo before receiving the intervention. Self-reported changes aligned with intended goals for change and were significant for those desiring to increase on a trait ( = 0.52) and for those desiring to decrease on a trait = -0.58). Observers such as friends, family members, or intimate partners also detected significant personality changes in the desired direction for those desiring to increase on a trait ( = 0.35). Observer-reported changes for those desiring to decrease on a trait were not significant ( = -0.22). Moreover, self- and observer-reported changes persisted until 3 mo after the end of the intervention. This work provides the strongest evidence to date that normal personality traits can be changed through intervention in nonclinical samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2017548118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7923371PMC
February 2021

Is Healthy Neuroticism Associated with Health Behaviors? A Coordinated Integrative Data Analysis.

Collabra Psychol 2020 21;6(1). Epub 2020 Jul 21.

Humboldt University, Berlin Germany, Department of Psychology.

Current literature suggests that neuroticism is positively associated with maladaptive life choices, likelihood of disease, and mortality. However, recent research has identified circumstances under which neuroticism is associated with positive outcomes. The current project examined whether "healthy neuroticism", defined as the interaction of neuroticism and conscientiousness, was associated with the following health behaviors: smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity. Using a pre-registered multi-study coordinated integrative data analysis (IDA) approach, we investigated whether "healthy neuroticism" predicted the odds of engaging in each of the aforementioned activities. Each study estimated identical models, using the same covariates and data transformations, enabling optimal comparability of results. These results were then meta-analyzed in order to estimate an average (N-weighted) effect and to ascertain the extent of heterogeneity in the effects. Overall, these results suggest that neuroticism alone was not related to health behaviors, while individuals higher in conscientiousness were less likely to be smokers or drinkers, and more likely to engage in physical activity. In terms of the healthy neuroticism interaction of neuroticism and conscientiousness, significant interactions for smoking and physical activity suggest that the association between neuroticism and health behaviors was smaller among those high in conscientiousness. These findings lend credence to the idea that healthy neuroticism may be linked to certain health behaviors and that these effects are generalizable across several heterogeneous samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/collabra.266DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7751766PMC
July 2020

Associations between depressive symptoms with perceived future time and opportunities: tests of unique prediction and moderation.

Aging Ment Health 2020 Dec 21:1-7. Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy Aging, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Objectives: Having a broadened perspective on one's future has been associated with better affective well-being, including reduced reports of depressive symptoms. However, research is limited regarding which aspect of future time perspective is associated with depressive symptoms, and whether these findings are consistent across individuals.

Methods: The current study employed data from a nationally representative sample of Swiss adults ( = 1774; mean age: 49.90 years; 51.8% female). Participants completed measures of future time perspective - both perceptions of future time and future opportunities - and depressive symptoms, in addition to reporting on their age, sex, health, and socioeconomic status (the moderators of interest).

Results: Perceived future time and future opportunities were uniquely predictive of depressive symptoms, even when controlling for chronological age and other covariates, though future opportunities held a stronger association with depressive symptoms. Limited evidence was found for moderation, though opportunities may matter more for predicting depressive symptoms among adults in worse health and those with fewer resources.

Discussion: Future time perspective appears moderately associated with depressive symptoms in adulthood, and researchers need to consider multiple aspects of future time perspective rather than as a unitary construct.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2020.1855107DOI Listing
December 2020

Targeting self-control as a behavior change mechanism to increase physical activity: Study protocol of a randomized controlled trial.

Contemp Clin Trials 2021 Jan 1;100:106236. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Department of Psychology, Brandeis University, USA. Electronic address:

Despite the highly publicized beneficial effects of physical activity, 51.1% of middle-aged US adults do not achieve the recommended minimum of aerobic physical activity needed to maintain health. A sedentary lifestyle can be attributed in part to a lack of self-control and there is some evidence that self-control strategies can be improved with targeted interventions. The overall aim of this study is to test self-control as a behavior change mechanism for physical activity and to investigate whether a smartphone-based self-control intervention can increase physical activity among sedentary middle-aged adults. This protocol describes the design of a randomized controlled trial with two experimental conditions: The self-control treatment group and the control group. Both groups track their daily physical activity using a Fitbit step counter for eight weeks. Additionally, the self-control intervention group receives a 7-week smartphone-based self-control intervention to learn strategies how to potentiate desirable impulses or weaken undesirable ones. It is expected that the self-control treatment group will show greater increases in physical activity and that changes last longer compared to the control group. All participants will be assessed at pretest (baseline), at the end of each week (weeks 1-7), at posttest (week 8), and at follow-up (week 12). If this self-control intervention proves effective, this digital approach would represent a low-threshold and cost-effective approach to increasing physical activity. Such an intervention could be delivered to a large number of people to improve their health outcomes in the long run. Trial Registration:ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04522141.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2020.106236DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7887092PMC
January 2021

MindHike, a Digital Coaching Application to Promote Self-Control: Rationale, Content, and Study Protocol.

Front Psychiatry 2020 9;11:575101. Epub 2020 Oct 9.

Department of Psychology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, United States.

This protocol describes a study that will test the effectiveness of a 7-week non-clinical digital coaching intervention to promote self-control. The goal of the coaching is to support and guide people who are willing and motivated to improve their self-control with the help of the smartphone application MindHike. The coaching is based on a process model of self-control and aims to target five groups of self-control strategies. The goal of the study is to examine the effectiveness of the digital coaching intervention. A single-arm study design with pre-test, post-test and 2-month follow-up assessments and process assessments will be used to evaluate the 7-week digital coaching intervention. The digital coaching includes 49 daily lessons that are organized along 7 weekly core themes. Study participants will be at least 150 adults aged 18 years and older who are willing and motivated to improve their self-control using the MindHike application. This is the first study testing the effectiveness of a digital coaching intervention to promote self-control. Given that this approach proves effective, it could be easily implemented in various non-clinical settings such as education, health, relationship, and work, and in clinical settings. Due to its digital low-threshold character, it could also reach large numbers of people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.575101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7581794PMC
October 2020

Moving beyond promoting 'Happiness' in gerontology interventions.

Age Ageing 2021 01;50(1):62-64

Department of Psychology & University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy Aging Research, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Researchers have called for gerontologists to spend greater attention on promoting happiness in older adulthood, a point aligned with the general public's interest in finding the keys to being happy later in life. However, targeting and even defining happiness comes with several caveats and challenges, leaving researchers to make difficult decisions regarding measurement and intervention strategies. Instead, the current commentary suggests that gerontology interventions may fare better if researchers focus on specific components of positive psychological functioning. We present sense of purpose and life enjoyment as examples of two such components, and note the potential merit in developing these more focussed intervention programmes. As such, the commentary suggests the value of moving beyond targeting happiness when developing intervention programmes for older adult participants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afaa226DOI Listing
January 2021

Is Healthy Neuroticism Associated with Chronic Conditions? A Coordinated Integrative Data Analysis.

Collabra Psychol 2020 12;6(1). Epub 2020 Aug 12.

University of Melbourne Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age and National Ageing Research Institute, Kew & Parkville, Australia.

Early investigations of the neuroticism by conscientiousness interaction with regards to health have been promising, but to date, there have been no systematic investigations of this interaction that account for the various personality measurement instruments, varying populations, or aspects of health. The current study - the second of three - uses a coordinated analysis approach to test the impact of the neuroticism by conscientiousness interaction on the prevalence and incidence of chronic conditions. Using 15 pre-existing longitudinal studies ( > 49,375), we found that conscientiousness did not moderate the relationship between neuroticism and having hypertension ( = 1.00,95%[0.98,1.02]), diabetes ( = 1.02[0.99,1.04]), or heart disease ( = 0.99[0.97,1.01]). Similarly, we found that conscientiousness did not moderate the prospective relationship between neuroticism and onset of hypertension ( = 0.98,[0.95,1.01]), diabetes ( = 0.99[0.94,1.05]), or heart disease ( = 0.98[0.94,1.03]). Heterogeneity of effect sizes was largely nonsignificant, with one exception, indicating that the effects are consistent between datasets. Overall, we conclude that there is no evidence that healthy neuroticism, operationalized as the conscientiousness by neuroticism interaction, buffers against chronic conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/collabra.267DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7566654PMC
August 2020

Predicting Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: A Machine Learning Approach.

J Alzheimers Dis 2020 ;75(3):717-728

University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Background: Efforts to identify important risk factors for cognitive impairment and dementia have to date mostly relied on meta-analytic strategies. A comprehensive empirical evaluation of these risk factors within a single study is currently lacking.

Objective: We used a combined methodology of machine learning and semi-parametric survival analysis to estimate the relative importance of 52 predictors in forecasting cognitive impairment and dementia in a large, population-representative sample of older adults.

Methods: Participants from the Health and Retirement Study (N = 9,979; aged 50-98 years) were followed for up to 10 years (M = 6.85 for cognitive impairment; M = 7.67 for dementia). Using a split-sample methodology, we first estimated the relative importance of predictors using machine learning (random forest survival analysis), and we then used semi-parametric survival analysis (Cox proportional hazards) to estimate effect sizes for the most important variables.

Results: African Americans and individuals who scored high on emotional distress were at relatively highest risk for developing cognitive impairment and dementia. Sociodemographic (lower education, Hispanic ethnicity) and health variables (worse subjective health, increasing BMI) were comparatively strong predictors for cognitive impairment. Cardiovascular factors (e.g., smoking, physical inactivity) and polygenic scores (with and without APOEɛ4) appeared less important than expected. Post-hoc sensitivity analyses underscored the robustness of these results.

Conclusions: Higher-order factors (e.g., emotional distress, subjective health), which reflect complex interactions between various aspects of an individual, were more important than narrowly defined factors (e.g., clinical and behavioral indicators) when evaluated concurrently to predict cognitive impairment and dementia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-190967DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7934087PMC
May 2021

Daily cognitive complaints and engagement in older adulthood: Personality traits are more predictive than cognitive performance.

Psychol Aging 2020 May 5;35(3):317-328. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich.

Cognitive complaints and engagement in cognitive activities are two consistent predictors of cognitive aging outcomes, including risk for nonnormative decline. Though research has considered predictors of complaints and engagement in general, little work has attended to the fact that these fluctuate at the daily level. The current study examined individual difference predictors of means and variability for engagement and complaints across 10 days in a sample of older adults (n = 136; Mage = 70.45 years). When comparing personality traits to indicators of cognitive performance, personality differences appeared better unique predictors for these measures of daily cognitive life. Specifically, even when accounting for demographics, measures of cognitive performance, and the other personality traits investigated, older adults higher on openness to experience reported fewer daily cognitive complaints and more engagement on average, as well as greater daily variability in engagement. In addition, higher neuroticism predicted greater variability in reports of cognitive complaints across days. Implications are discussed with respect to how these findings advance our understanding of cognitive complaints and engagement in daily life. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pag0000452DOI Listing
May 2020

Future time perspective and affect in daily life across adulthood and old age: Findings from two micro-longitudinal studies.

J Pers 2020 10 6;88(5):950-964. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program "Dynamics of Healthy Aging", University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Objective: Future time perspective (FTP) refers to individuals' perceptions of the future as either open-ended or limited. Despite well-documented individual differences in FTP across the adult life span, little is known about short-term variations of FTP within individuals and the within-person associations between FTP and affective experiences.

Method: Study 1 used data from a daily diary study over 10 days (N = 564) with a wide age range across the adult life span (M = 48.30). Study 2 used data from an ambulatory assessment study over 10 days (N = 136) obtained from healthy older adults (M = 70.45).

Results: Findings suggest that 10% to 20% of the total variance in FTP was within-person and 29% to 62% of the total variance in affect was within-person. Multilevel modeling showed that occasions with a more open-ended FTP were occasions with more positive affect, energetic arousal, calmness, and positive valence, and less negative affect. Age moderated the within-person associations between FTP and positive and negative affect as well as energetic arousal, with weaker associations for older adults.

Conclusions: This research demonstrates the importance of looking at both within-person and between-person differences with respect to the associations between FTP and affective experiences in daily life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12543DOI Listing
October 2020

Within-Person Associations Between Attachment Security, Need Satisfaction and Psychological Adjustment in Daily Life of Older Adults.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2021 01;76(1):56-66

Department of Psychology and URPP Dynamics of Healthy Aging, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Objectives: Little is known about how attachment processes manifest within older adults in daily life and how these processes are associated with daily psychological adjustment. This study examined the within-person associations between states of attachment security and psychological adjustment. It is expected that this association is mediated by higher levels of satisfied needs in daily life.

Methods: Microlongitudinal self-report data were collected in a sample of 136 older adults ranged in age from 60 to 90 years (ageM = 70.45 years) across 10 days with daily morning and afternoon measurement occasions.

Results: Three main findings from multilevel analyses emerged. First, older adults showed significant within-person variation in attachment security, satisfaction of the needs for autonomy and competence, and psychological adjustment over time. Second, attachment security was positively associated with psychological adjustment within individuals. Third, both satisfaction of the needs for autonomy and competence mediated the within-person association between attachment security and psychological adjustment.

Discussion: The results suggest that attachment security is associated with the experience of autonomy and competence in daily life of older adults which in turn is related with better psychological adjustment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz148DOI Listing
January 2021

Intra- and interindividual differences in the within-person coupling between daily pain and affect of older adults.

J Behav Med 2020 10 5;43(5):707-722. Epub 2019 Sep 5.

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

The bidirectional interplay between chronic pain and negative affect is well-established in patient samples. However, less is known about the day-to-day relationship between pain and affect of older adults without severe illnesses and to what extent this association differs within and between individuals. A total of 224 participants (M = 77.6, SD = 6.2) reported their daily experience of pain, impairment by their pain and affect during 21 consecutive days. Multilevel modeling results showed that on days with increased pain individuals also reported less positive affect and more negative affect. Time-lagged results indicated a temporal carry-over from yesterday's pain to today's negative affect but not to today's positive affect. Moreover, on days when individuals reported stronger impairment by their pain, they showed a stronger within-person coupling between daily pain and affect in contrast to days with a weaker experience of daily impairment. Yesterday's pain and today's negative affect were more strongly associated within individuals who reported higher levels of impairment. Interindividual differences in the within-person coupling between daily pain and affect were found with regard to general physical health conditions and general satisfaction with health. This study demonstrated the importance of focusing on within-person couplings between daily pain and affect beyond patient samples in order to better understand the maintenance of emotional stability despite daily hassles in older adults' everyday lives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10865-019-00099-0DOI Listing
October 2020

Looking on the bright side of life: Gratitude and experiences of interpersonal transgressions in adulthood and daily life.

J Pers 2020 06 24;88(3):430-446. Epub 2019 Jul 24.

Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program "Dynamics of Healthy Aging", University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Objective: Gratitude plays an important role in individual and social well-being. However, less is known about the link between gratitude and experiences of interpersonal stressors. The current research examined the associations between gratitude and interpersonal transgressions.

Method: One cross-sectional study with a broad age range and two daily diary studies (total N = 2,348; total age range: 18-91) were used to test the associations on the between- and within-person level.

Results: A consistent result across all studies was that dispositionally grateful individuals tended to report fewer interpersonal transgressions than less grateful people. In turn, people who generally reported more interpersonal transgressions were less grateful in daily life. Moreover, higher gratitude on one specific day was associated with fewer reported transgressions on the same day. However, the results from the daily diary studies indicated differences between the samples. Whereas gratitude was consistently associated with interpersonal transgressions in one daily diary sample, the findings in the second daily diary sample were less consistent.

Conclusion: The present findings suggest that grateful people tend to perceive their social exchanges differently and/or actually experience fewer interpersonal transgressions. Future work is needed to test the underlying mechanisms of this negative association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12501DOI Listing
June 2020

Emotion Regulation, Subjective Well-Being, and Perceived Stress in Daily Life of Geriatric Nurses.

Front Psychol 2019 15;10:1097. Epub 2019 May 15.

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

This daily diary study examined the within-person coupling between four emotion regulation strategies and both subjective well-being and perceived stress in daily life of geriatric nurses. Participants ( = 89) described how they regulated their emotions in terms of cognitive reappraisal and suppression. They also indicated their subjective well-being and level of perceived stress each day over 3 weeks. At the within-person level, cognitive reappraisal intended to increase positive emotions was positively associated with higher subjective well-being and negatively associated with perceived stress. Suppression of the expression of positive emotions was negatively associated with subjective well-being and positively associated with perceived stress. However, cognitive reappraisal intended to down-regulate negative emotions and suppression as a strategy to inhibit the expression of negative emotions were not associated with daily well-being or perceived stress. Off-days were rated as days with higher subjective well-being and lower perceived stress in contrast to working days. At the between-person level, individuals who reported more daily negative affect reported increased suppression of positive emotions, corroborating the within-person findings. Moreover, findings indicated that nurses with more years of experience in the job reported higher subjective well-being and less perceived stress. These results provide insights into important daily emotional processes of geriatric nurses, both at workdays and in their leisure time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01097DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6529805PMC
May 2019

Eye Tracking in the Wild: Piloting a Real-Life Assessment Paradigm for Older Adults.

J Eye Mov Res 2019 May 24;12(1). Epub 2019 May 24.

University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Previous research showed associations between personality traits and eye movements of young adults in the laboratory. However, less is known about these associations in real life and in older age. Primarily, there seems to be no paradigm to assess eye movements of older adults in real life. The present feasibility study thus aimed to test grocery shopping as a real-life assessment paradigm with older adults. Additionally, possible links between personality traits and eye movements were explored. The sample consisted of 38 older individuals (M = 72.85 years). Participants did their grocery shopping in a supermarket while wearing an eye tracker. Three key feasibility issues were examined, that is (1) wearability of the eye tracker during grocery shopping, (2) recording, and (3) evaluation of eye movements in a real-life context. Our real-life assessment paradigm showed to be feasible to implement and acceptable to older adults. This feasibility study provides specific practical recommendations which may be useful for future studies that plan to innovatively expand the traditional methods repertoire of personality science and aging research by using eye tracking in real life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.16910/jemr.12.1.4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7898008PMC
May 2019

Mobile Data Collection: Smart, but Not (Yet) Smart Enough.

Front Neurosci 2018 18;12:971. Epub 2018 Dec 18.

University Research Priority Program "Dynamics of Healthy Aging", University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00971DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6305304PMC
December 2018

Self-control development in adolescence predicts love and work in adulthood.

J Pers Soc Psychol 2019 Sep 13;117(3):621-634. Epub 2018 Dec 13.

Department of Psychology.

This longitudinal study over a 23-year time span examined predictive associations between self-control development in adolescence and love and work outcomes in adulthood. Participants were 1,527 adults aged 35 years (48.3% female). The predictor variable self-control was measured yearly at the ages of 12 to 16 years. Adult outcome variables were measured at the age of 35 years. Three important results stand out. First, the measure of adolescent self-control functioned equivalently across the adolescent years. Second, adolescents showed a mean-level increase in self-control across the adolescent years and significant individual differences in level and change of self-control. Finally, individual differences in change in adolescent self-control predicted better intimate relationships in terms of higher relationship satisfaction and lower conflict; and more satisfaction and engagement in work-life in adulthood independent of the initial levels of self-control in early adolescence. These findings demonstrate that developmental self-regulatory processes reveal long-term consequences in important life domains beyond the adolescent years. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000229DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6565514PMC
September 2019

PEACH, a smartphone- and conversational agent-based coaching intervention for intentional personality change: study protocol of a randomized, wait-list controlled trial.

BMC Psychol 2018 Sep 4;6(1):43. Epub 2018 Sep 4.

Department of Psychology and URPP Dynamics of Healthy Aging, University of Zurich, Andreasstrasse 15, 8050, Zürich, Switzerland.

Background: This protocol describes a study that will test the effectiveness of a 10-week non-clinical psychological coaching intervention for intentional personality change using a smartphone application. The goal of the intervention is to coach individuals who are willing and motivated to change some aspects of their personality, i.e., the Big Five personality traits. The intervention is based on empirically derived general change mechanisms from psychotherapy process-outcome research. It uses the smartphone application PEACH (PErsonality coACH) to allow for a scalable assessment and tailored interventions in the everyday life of participants. A conversational agent will be used as a digital coach to support participants to achieve their personality change goals. The goal of the study is to examine the effectiveness of the intervention at post-test assessment and three-month follow-up.

Methods/design: A 2x2 factorial between-subject randomized, wait-list controlled trial with intensive longitudinal methods will be conducted to examine the effectiveness of the intervention. Participants will be randomized to one of four conditions. One experimental condition includes a conversational agent with high self-awareness to deliver the coaching program. The other experimental condition includes a conversational agent with low self-awareness. Two wait-list conditions refer to the same two experimental conditions, albeit with four weeks without intervention at the beginning of the study. The 10-week intervention includes different types of micro-interventions: (a) individualized implementation intentions, (b) psychoeducation, (c) behavioral activation tasks, (d) self-reflection, (e) resource activation, and (f) individualized progress feedback. Study participants will be at least 900 German-speaking adults (18 years and older) who install the PEACH application on their smartphones, give their informed consent, pass the screening assessment, take part in the pre-test assessment and are motivated to change or modify some aspects of their personality.

Discussion: This is the first study testing the effectiveness of a smartphone- and conversational agent-based coaching intervention for intended personality change. Given that this novel intervention approach proves effective, it could be implemented in various non-clinical settings and could reach large numbers of people due to its low-threshold character and technical scalability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40359-018-0257-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6123904PMC
September 2018

Are open and neurotic behaviors related to cognitive behaviors in daily life of older adults?

J Pers 2019 06 25;87(3):472-484. Epub 2018 Jul 25.

Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program (URPP) "Dynamics of Healthy Aging", University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Objective: Previous research has shown a positive relationship between Openness and cognitive engagement as well as Neuroticism and cognitive complaints at the between-person level. However, less is known about these associations at the within-person level in daily life. Using daily assessments, the present study examined these associations both at the between-person and within-person level. Knowing the within-person associations is important to provide valuable information for simple preventive and interceptive intervention strategies.

Method: This study sampled 136 healthy older participants (M = 70.45 years; 41.2% male). Open and neurotic behaviors as well as cognitive engagement and complaints were measured every evening over 11 days.

Results: The results of multilevel models showed a positive association between open behaviors and cognitive engagement at the between-person and within-person level. For neurotic behaviors and cognitive complaints, no association was found at either level of analysis.

Conclusions: These findings extend previous research by providing the investigation of the associations between specific naturally occurring behaviors related to personality and cognition in the daily life of older adults at the within-person level. Furthermore, these results may offer some basis for future intervention studies that should test whether a simple intervention aimed at promoting Openness-related behaviors may increase cognitive engagement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12409DOI Listing
June 2019

Die Persönlichkeit des Patienten.

Authors:
Mathias Allemand

Praxis (Bern 1994) 2018 06;107(12):621-622

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/1661-8157/a003000DOI Listing
June 2018

Cognitive complaints mediate the effect of cognition on emotional stability across 12 years in old age.

Psychol Aging 2018 05;33(3):425-438

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich.

Previous research supports a positive relationship between cognition and emotional stability, although findings regarding healthy older adults are inconsistent. Additionally, little is known about the mechanisms that underlie this association. Thus, the present study investigated the mediating effect of cognitive complaints on the bidirectional longitudinal association between cognition and emotional stability in old age. The study sample consisted of 500 older individuals (M age = 62.97 years, SD = 0.91, range = 60-64 years; 52% male) from the Interdisciplinary Longitudinal Study on Adult Development. The results showed that cognitive complaints mediated the effect of cognition on emotional stability over 12 years even when taking baseline emotional stability, baseline cognitive complaints, depressive affect, gender, sensory functioning, and objective and subjective health into account. However, cognitive complaints did not mediate the effect of emotional stability on cognition. The results of the current study emphasize the importance of investigating cognition as a predictor of personality traits, and indicate that cognitive resources may serve as a protective factor for emotional stability in old age. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pag0000246DOI Listing
May 2018

How to customize a bona fide psychotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder? A two-arms, patient blinded, ABAB crossed-therapist randomized clinical implementation trial design [IMPLEMENT 2.0].

BMC Psychiatry 2018 04 3;18(1):86. Epub 2018 Apr 3.

University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.

Background: Bona fide psychotherapy approaches are effective treatments for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) compared to no-treatment conditions. Treatment manuals and protocols allow a relatively high degree of freedom for the way therapists implement these overall treatment packages and there is a systematic lack of knowledge on how therapists should customize these treatments. The present study experimentally examines two implementation strategies of customizing a bona fide psychotherapy approach based on a 16 session time-limited cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) protocol and their relation to the post-session and ultimate treatment outcomes.

Methods: This trial contrasts two different implementation strategies of how to customize the in-session structure of a manual-based CBT-protocol for GAD. The patients will be randomly assigned to two implementation conditions: (1) a systematic focus on subtle changes lasting from 7 to 20 min at the check-in phase of every psychotherapy session and (2) a state-of-the-art (SOTA) check-in phase lasting several minutes mainly focused on the session goals. Potential therapist effects will be examined based on an ABAB crossed-therapist design. Treatment outcomes will be assessed at the following times: post-session outcomes, treatment outcome at post assessment and 6- as well as 12-month follow-up.

Discussion: The proposed randomized clinical implementation trial addresses the clinically relevant question of how to customize a bona fide psychotherapy protocol experimentally contrasting two implementation strategies. Through the development and testing of the proposed implementation design, this trial has the potential to inform therapists about efficacious implementation strategies of how to customize a manual-based treatment protocol in respect to the timing of the in-session structure.

Trial Registration: This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov ( NCT03079336 ) at March 14, 2017.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12888-018-1666-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5883336PMC
April 2018

Discrepancy in Personality Perceptions Is Related to Relationship Satisfaction: Findings from Dyadic Latent Discrepancy Analyses.

J Pers 2016 10 20;84(5):658-70. Epub 2015 Jul 20.

University of Zurich.

The current study investigated discrepancies in self-, partner-, and meta-perceptions of the Big Five traits and their associations with relationship satisfaction in intimate couples. The study was based on a subsample of the Swiss study "Co-Development in Personality: Longitudinal Approaches to Personality Development in Dyads Across the Life Span" (CoDiP) including cross-sectional data of 216 heterosexual couples. We adapted the Latent Congruence Model (LCM) for the study of discrepancies in personality perceptions in dyads. Beyond personality trait levels, the discrepancies between self- and partner-perceptions and between partner- and meta-perceptions of the Big Five traits were related to relationship satisfaction as actor and partner effects. In general, flattering and favorable partner-perceptions in relation to self- and meta-perceptions seem to positively contribute to relationship satisfaction. The present study implies that not only personality trait levels but also discrepancies between personality perceptions are important for understanding relationship satisfaction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12189DOI Listing
October 2016

Personality Trait Differences Between Young and Middle-Aged Adults: Measurement Artifacts or Actual Trends?

J Pers 2016 08 21;84(4):473-92. Epub 2015 Apr 21.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

A growing body of research demonstrates that older individuals tend to score differently on personality measures than younger adults. However, recent research using item response theory (IRT) has questioned these findings, suggesting that apparent age differences in personality traits merely reflect artifacts of the response process rather than true differences in the latent constructs. Conversely, other studies have found the opposite-age differences appear to be true differences rather than response artifacts. Given these contradictory findings, the goal of the present study was to examine the measurement equivalence of personality ratings drawn from large groups of young and middle-aged adults (a) to examine whether age differences in personality traits could be completely explained by measurement nonequivalence and (b) to illustrate the comparability of IRT and confirmatory factor analysis approaches to testing equivalence in this context. Self-ratings of personality traits were analyzed in two groups of Internet respondents aged 20 and 50 (n = 15,726 in each age group). Measurement nonequivalence across these groups was negligible. The effect sizes of the mean differences due to nonequivalence ranged from -.16 to .15. Results indicate that personality trait differences across age groups reflect actual differences rather than merely response artifacts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12173DOI Listing
August 2016

Do Parents Foster Self-Esteem? Testing the Prospective Impact of Parent Closeness on Adolescent Self-Esteem.

Child Dev 2015 Jul 23;86(4):995-1013. Epub 2015 Feb 23.

University of California, Davis.

Close parent-child relationships are viewed as important for the development of global self-esteem. Cross-sectional research supports this hypothesis, but longitudinal studies provide inconsistent prospective effects. The current study uses data from Germany (N = 982) and the United States (N = 451) to test longitudinal relations between parent-child closeness and adolescent self-esteem. The authors used self-, parent-, and observer-reported parent-child closeness and self-reported self-esteem from ages 12 to 16. Results replicated concurrent correlations found in the literature, but six longitudinal models failed to show prospective relations. Thus, the longitudinal effect of parent-child closeness and self-esteem is difficult to detect with adolescent samples. These findings suggest the need for additional theorizing about influences on adolescent self-esteem development and longitudinal research with younger samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12356DOI Listing
July 2015

Long-term correlated change between personality traits and perceived social support in middle adulthood.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2015 Mar 29;41(3):420-32. Epub 2015 Jan 29.

University of Zurich, Switzerland.

This study investigated long-term correlated change between personality traits and perceived social support in middle adulthood. Two measurement occasions with an 8-year time interval from the Interdisciplinary Longitudinal Study on Adult Development (ILSE) were used. The sample consisted of 346 middle-aged adults (46-50 years at T1). Four different types of perceived social support were assessed. Personality traits were assessed with the NEO-Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Longitudinal measurement invariance (MI) was established for both measures. The mean rank-order stabilities were .79 and .62 for personality traits and for perceived social support, respectively. The results demonstrated a mean-level increase for neuroticism and a decrease for extraversion and significant change variances for all constructs. The results of latent change models showed significant initial level correlations and correlated changes between personality traits and social support, implying that changes in these constructs show commonality. The results can expand our current thinking about correlated change in personality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167215569492DOI Listing
March 2015

Testing the vulnerability and scar models of self-esteem and depressive symptoms from adolescence to middle adulthood and across generations.

Dev Psychol 2015 Feb 15;51(2):236-47. Epub 2014 Dec 15.

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich.

The vulnerability model states that low self-esteem functions as a predictor for the development of depressive symptoms whereas the scar model assumes that these symptoms leave scars in individuals resulting in lower self-esteem. Both models have received empirical support, however, they have only been tested within individuals and not across generations (i.e., between family members). Thus, we tested the scope of these competing models by (a) investigating whether the effects hold from adolescence to middle adulthood (long-term vulnerability and scar effects), (b) whether the effects hold across generations (intergenerational vulnerability and scar effects), and (c) whether intergenerational effects are mediated by parental self-esteem and depressive symptoms and parent-child discord. We used longitudinal data from adolescence to middle adulthood (N = 1,359) and from Generation 1 adolescents (G1) to Generation 2 adolescents (G2) (N = 572 parent-child pairs). Results from latent cross-lagged regression analyses demonstrated that both adolescent self-esteem and depressive symptoms were prospectively related to adult self-esteem and depressive symptoms 3 decades later. That is, both the vulnerability and scar models are valid over decades with stronger effects for the vulnerability model. Across generations, we found a substantial direct transmission effect from G1 to G2 adolescent depressive symptoms but no evidence for the proposed intergenerational vulnerability and scar effect or for any of the proposed mediating mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038478DOI Listing
February 2015