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The current research delves into the relationship between Future Self-Continuity (FSC) and mental health, particularly in the context of commuting behaviors. It employs a cross-sectional, observational design and relies on self-reported data. While this approach provides helpful perspicuity into the nature of the observed phenomena, it also expresses methodological limitations in terms of causal inference and variable control and manipulation. The study utilizes established psychometric tools as a basis for modified measures for the sake of brevity and digestibility by recruited online participants: the Truncated Future Self-Continuity Questionnaire (FSCQ-T) and the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-10 (DASS-10), to measure the respective constructs.
A linear regression analysis reveals a significant negative correlation between FSCQ-T and DASS-10 scores (n = 90, r = -0.321, p = 0.002). This finding suggests that individuals with a stronger sense of connection to their future selves tend to experience better mental health outcomes. However, the two-group t-tests reveal no significant differences between active and inactive commuters in FSCQ-T (n = 90, t = -0.189, p = 0.851) and DASS-10 (n = 90, t = 0.205, p = 0.838) scores. This outcome indicates that commute type may not significantly influence these specific aspects of mental health.
However, the research is limited by its cross-sectional design, reliance on self-reported data, and inability to control and manipulate its variables, which constrain causal inferences and long-term observations, and allow for confounding variables to obfuscate and skew potential effects. Acknowledging these limitations, the study underscores the need for future longitudinal research with diverse samples to deepen our understanding of the interplay between commuting patterns, mental health, and FSC, offering valuable insights for urban planning and public health.
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Gehr, Max William, "Moving Forward: Studying the Impact of Future Self-Continuity and Active Commuting on Depression, Anxiety, and Stress" (2023). Senior Projects Fall 2023. 18.
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