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Automatic and Effortful Processing of Self‐Statements in Depression

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Clark and Beck (1999) and Williams et al. (1997) have come up with quite different conclusions regarding which cognitive processes are most affected by negative self‐schemata and negative knowledge structures. In order to increase the understanding of differences in effortful and automatic processing in depression, we compared never depressed (ND), previously depressed (PD) and clinically depressed (CD) individuals on free recall, recognition and fabrication of positive and negative self‐statements. The results showed that: (i) overall NDs and PDs recalled more positive self‐statements than CDs, whereas CDs correctly recognized more negative self‐statements than NDs and PDs; and (ii) CDs and PDs fabricated more negative than positive self‐statements, whereas no difference was obtained for NDs. The results seem to be in line with Clark and Beck's suggestions. However, there are several aspects of the present findings that make the picture more complicated.

Keywords: dysfunctional attitudes; dysphoric symptoms; fabrication; recall; recognition; vulnerability

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of Tromsø, Tromsø 2: Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo 3: Department of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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