Emotional Stroop interference for depression-related stimuli in a United Arab Emirates student population

Justin Thomas1, Carol Campbell1, Belkeis Altareb1, Ahmed Yousif1
1Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
Cite this article:  Thomas, J., Campbell, C., Altareb, B., & Yousif, A. (2010). Emotional Stroop interference for depression-related stimuli in a United Arab Emirates student population. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 38(5), 597-604.

Volume 38 Issue 5 | e2011 | Published: June 2010 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2010.38.5.597

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A bilingual Arabic-speaking student population performed an emotional Stroop task designed to assess the interference effects of depressive stimuli. The aim was to replicate the findings of previous studies with English-speaking participants in which slower color-naming responses were reported for depression-related stimuli, with speed negatively correlated with increasing levels of depressive symptomatology. We used repeated measures design measuring any slowing of naming for the emotional words, while Pearson’s r was used to explore the relationship between emotional Stroop performance decrease and extent of depressive symptoms. University students (N = 261) completed a computerized, Arabic-language version of the emotional Stroop task, along with a questionnaire (the Beck Depression Inventory) measure of depressive symptoms. The response time differential for depression related (RT depressive – RT normal), but not neutral (RT neutral – RT normal), words were positively correlated with depressive symptom scores. The findings were consistent with studies reporting mood-congruent information processing biases in English-speaking populations. The emotional Stroop task may prove useful as a culturally-neutral adjunct in the implicit assessment of depressive symptoms or vulnerabilities.

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