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14-06-2019 | Uitgave 11/2019

Quality of Life Research 11/2019

The importance of face-to-face contact and reciprocal relationships and their associations with depressive symptoms and life satisfaction

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 11/2019
Melissa Simone, Christian Geiser, Ginger Lockhart
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The current study aimed to examine how patterns of interpersonal relational contexts (e.g., face-to-face or technology-based) and processes (e.g., initiated or accepted) relate to depressive symptomology and life satisfaction.


Participants were recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (n = 962 adults [52.1% female; aged 18–78; 16.4% Non-White]). Quota sampling was used to closely match the sample demographics to that of the United States Census data. Latent class analyses (LCA) identified classes of interpersonal relations using the Multidimensional Interpersonal Relations Scale. Next, participants’ responses on the Beck Depression Inventory and Satisfaction With Life Scale were examined to evaluate differences in depressive symptoms and life satisfaction across classes.


LCA results supported a 4-class model, in which classes were characterized by patterns of relational contexts and processes: Class 1 (50.6%) engagement across all contexts (e.g., face-to-face) and processes (e.g., initiated); Class 2 (12.7%) engagement across all contexts and processes except Facebook; Class 3 (24.0%) engagement in all contexts and only passive processes; and Class 4 (12.7%) engagement in only technology-based contexts and passive processes. Membership in Classes 1 and 2 was associated with lower depressive symptomology and higher life satisfaction as compared to Classes 3 and 4.


The findings suggest that patterns of relations differentially relate to depressive symptoms and life satisfaction. The findings suggest that multicontextual (e.g., face-to-face and technology-based) and reciprocal relationships with friends (e.g., initiating and accepting connections) may play an important role in the association between interpersonal relations with life satisfaction and depressive symptoms.

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