Date of Award

1981

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The hypotheses derived from Beck's theory that depressed individuals "minimize the positive" and "maximize the negative" were investigated using a series of positive and negative imaginary interpersonal situations. Fifty-two depressed and nondepressed college females responded to the imagined situations by rating their self-esteem and mood at three time intervals. Results showed that depressed subjects maintained lower levels of self-esteem and mood across all three measurements yet were less adversely affected with exposure to the negative situations than were nondepressed subjects. Additionally, depressed subjects showed a greater enhancement effect from the positive imagined experience even while maintaining lower levels of self-esteem and mood across all measurements. These unexpected findings are discussed in light of the immediate versus prolonged effects of stress, the needed specificity in the measurement of cognitive reactions, and a limiting effect in the processing of positive experience by depressed subjects. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

Pages

101

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