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Study Confirms Existence of Valentine's Day Blues

( - April 27, 2004) In order to assess the validity of "Valentine's Day Blues," TRUEBeginnings co-sponsored a comprehensive scientific study of the phenomenon, which concludes that single men and women do in fact experience heightened feelings of psychological distress in connection with Valentine's Day. To execute the study, TRUEBeginnings, a new kind of online dating service, worked in partnership with Queendom, an online psychological testing center dedicated to providing an interactive avenue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun.

Careful examination of the scientific data collected by the test concludes that adults who reportedly did not participate in or receive gifts or other tokens of affection in connection with Valentine's Day do exhibit signs of emotional stress, ranging from mild depression to noticeable anxiety. These symptoms, which were collected on a cross-sectional basis for up to four weeks after the holiday, affect men and women in different ways. Whereas the Valentine's Day-related stress experienced by men decreases gradually and seems to disappear after a maximum of three weeks, similar depression experienced by women tends to increase over time and lasts for as many as four weeks after Valentine's Day.

Spearheaded by Dr. James Houran, director of psychological studies at TRUEBeginnings and a 14-year veteran in the field of research and clinical psychology, and Ilona Jerabek, an award-winning psychologist with a history of dedication to the fields of psychology and clinical studies, the study set out to determine whether commercial and societal norms surrounding Valentine's Day in Westernized societies have a detrimental impact on the psychological well-being of adult singles who are not involved in romantic relationships.

"The results of this study are not surprising: adults who do not receive special attention related to Valentine's Day tend to be more distressed following the holiday than do those who receive gifts, cards or other gestures of affection," said Houran. "The confluence of societal and commercial pressure to participate in Valentine's Day creates a level of stress which can be emotionally exhausting. Among other things, we are hopeful that our findings will draw attention to the occurrence of 'Valentine's Day Blues,' helping adults to better understand the phenomenon and develop a healthy emotional response to the feelings it triggers."

The study, conducted between two and four weeks after February 14, 2004, draws on responses gathered from 2,055 single adults. Participants in the study, of whom approximately 50 per cent were women, responded to fifty questions about the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors they experienced this past Valentine's Day, in addition to some non-intrusive background questions about the status of their present romantic relationships. In addition to determining that both men and women show signs of depression in the weeks following Valentine's Day, the results of the study conclude that women are impacted to a greater extent, exhibiting more noticeable signs of distress for a longer period of time. The findings also indicate that women tend to show more signs of depression in general, regardless of Valentine's Day-related attention received.

The survey is part of TRUEBeginnings' ongoing effort to conduct, analyze and release up-to-date scientific data about relationships and online dating.

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