Anxiety and Depression in Time Perception Resting State and Active Motion

Levels of depression, anxiety, and impulsivity are the best predictors of resting state motion intensity among psychiatric patients.

Levels of depression, anxiety, and impulsivity are the best predictors of resting state motion intensity among psychiatric patients. Their pathways regarding the connection between motion intensity changes, time production ratio alterations, and symptom reduction are different than those pathways in nonpsychiatric patients. This suggests the significance in distinguishing between subclinical and clinical severity of psychiatric symptoms when assessing the link between depression, anxiety, time perception, and motion intensity. These are among the study findings published recently in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

The expression of symptoms and the severity of anxiety and depression may be affected by the interrelation of time perception and motion intensity. Researchers sought to investigate the associations between time perception, intensity of physical activity, impulsivity, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and the degree to which resting state motion intensity can be used to recognize anxiety and depressive symptoms.

They conducted an experimental study that included 20 healthy control individuals who were students from the Faculty of Health Sciences of Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary, and 20 patients with either anxiety or depression-related diagnoses recruited from the National Institute of Mental Health, Neurology and Neurosurgery — Nyírő Gyula Hospital, Budapest, Hungary. Participants were randomly assigned to a nonexperimental group (resting state conditions) or an experimental group (with an active motion task). Changes in psychiatric symptom levels, time perception, and motion intensity were repeatedly evaluated in both groups.

Researchers found that random forest regression analysis identified the level of anxiety, depression, and impulsivity as the best predictors of resting state motion intensity. They also noted that a path analysis model showed that the control group and the patient group had different pathways regarding the connection between motion intensity changes, symptom reduction, and time production ratio alterations.

Motion intensity may be associated with both subjective time experience and the changes of psychiatric symptoms.

Study limitations include the underpowered sample size, the lack of follow-up testing to estimate the temporal duration of outcomes, factors beyond the control of researchers that may explain time perception, and the use of a nontraditional time production task that didn’t assess intervals under 10 seconds thus making findings difficult to compare with other studies.

Researchers believe the implications stress distinguishing between “clinical and subclinical severity of psychiatric symptoms when considering the association between motion intensity, time perception, anxiety and depression.” They clarified that, “motion intensity may be associated with both subjective time experience and the changes of psychiatric symptoms,” and the identification of different pathways in psychiatric patients vs healthy control patients implied “the relevance of distinguishing between clinical and subclinical severity of psychiatric symptoms.”

References:

Kapitány-Fövény M, Bokk O, Kiss A, Sulyok M. Time perception at resting state and during active motion: the role of anxiety and depression. J Psychiatr Res. Published online August 26, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2022.08.023