Moderators of the Relationship between Cognitive Bias and Depressive Symptoms
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Honors Theses; 2007
A central claim of the cognitive model of depression is that people with greater depressive symptoms show less optimistic and more pessimistic biases in several domains. While previous research (Strunk, Lopez, & DeRubeis, 2006) has supported this claim, much less is known about for whom or under what conditions this is most true. Replicating a previous study of bias in life event predictions, this study found that optimistic / pessimistic bias in life event predictions and depressive symptoms were related as predicted by the cognitive model of depression for women, but this was not true for men. However, this sex difference in the relationship between optimistic / pessimistic bias and depressive symptoms was not evident on a task involving participants predicting how they would be rated by a friend or significant other. A secondary purpose of this project was to examine whether bias in a particular domain (viz., interpersonal and achievement) and depressive symptoms were more related when participants had shown evidence of pessimistic explanatory style in that same domain. A significant interaction of optimistic /pessimistic bias for interpersonal events and depressive symptoms were obtained for participants who with pessimistic explanatory style for interpersonal events. A non-significant trend revealed a similar pattern for the achievement domain. Implications for potential refinements of the cognitive model and future research are discussed.
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