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Towards situated anxiety: taking an experience-sampling approach to exploring the influence of situation and individual tendency on momentary stress

Christmas, Adam John Barrett (2022) Towards situated anxiety: taking an experience-sampling approach to exploring the influence of situation and individual tendency on momentary stress. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004427


Research on methods is a vital part of social science, but many desirable techniques come with high outlays. Adapting mobile technology for research offers new possibilities, including the promise of reduced costs, and access to hard-to-reach groups. However, these claims have been difficult to verify empirically. This thesis contributes to the literature in two fields. The first is psychology, where I investigate the parts and processes of experience formation in states of stress. Although there have been momentary studies of stress in everyday life, relatively few have looked at the interactions between dynamic and stable influences using the same instrument. I also address the comparability and generalisability of situations across persons, and the function of trait. My studies also make a methodological contribution to the field of experiential data measurement. The approach is based on experience-sampling, a well-established but traditionally hard-to-implement technique for assessing events as they occur. I describe the process of developing, administering, and evaluating a mobile version through case studies on divers populations. Throughout the studies, I examine whether technical advances can compensate for the increased burden of intensive self-report. I look at implications for researchers interested in working with experience sampling, and I aim to broaden access to such methods by setting out practical guidelines. I encourage researchers to consider the suitability of such methods for their work by demonstrating usability and flexibility. To do this, I carry out two exploratory studies, two multiple-subject substantive studies, and one single subject investigation. The evidence presented builds on research on state and temperament, and supports the idea that careful use of mobile technology can improve formerly cumbersome techniques, and apply them to varied populations. It demonstrates that adding momentary and situational information need not add substantially to costs. Finally, it implies cautions and recommendations for future development.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Adam John Barrett Christmas
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Sets: Departments > Methodology
Supervisor: Kuha, Jouni

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