Psychology Publications

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Cognition and Emotion





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A central tenet of cognitive theories of depression implicates the organisation of self-referential material in the depressive process. However, few studies have extended beyond the examination of cognitive products and processes to assess the interconnectedness of the depressive self-schema. Clinically depressed participants completed a computerised measure of the cognitive organisation of positive and negative adjectives. Participants organised adjectives according to two dimensions (i.e., valence and self-descriptiveness), and an interstimulus distance index of interconnectedness was computed. The sample was divided into two groups to assess whether differential organisation was associated with the number of previous episodes individuals had experienced. Analyses indicated that the patient groups did not differ from one another on demographic characteristics, severity of symptomatology, or comorbidity. Those individuals with more recurrent depression demonstrated significantly greater organisation of negative content and less interconnectedness of positive content than those with less recurrent depression. The implications of these results for the organisation of cognitive content in depression are discussed and directions for future research are provided

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