Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cognitive Styles and Depression

Negative thinking patterns increase vulnerability to depression

According to a recent review of research by researchers from Temple University and the University of Wisconsin, purely biological explanations for depression are insufficient. The finding that negative cognitive styles, which are basically patterns of thought that are typically negative in nature (e.g., pessimism), increase the risk of becoming depressed is the first demonstration of a psychological vulnerability for depression.

Unlike biological explanations, cognitive explanations for depressions focus on individual differences in responses to stressful events. According to hopelessness theory, people who think of negative events as though they persist over time and relate to other aspects of themselves, blow the consequences of the events out of proportion, and see the events as evidence of personal flaws are more likely to become depressed. Similarly, according to Beck's theory of depression, people have a certain types of dysfunctional attitudes, such as believing that their self-worth depends on being perfect or on approval from others, are more likely to become depressed.

The studies that have been conducted to test the predictions made by these and other related theories have provided considerable support for these notions. More generally, the findings from these studies suggest that the way in which people think may influence their mental and physical health.

Source: Alloy, L. B., Abramson, L. Y., & Francis, E. L. (1999) Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8, 128-132.