The Relation of Bias in Life Event Predictions and Depressive Symptoms: Considering the Role of Beliefs of Control
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Honors Theses; 2010
Previous research has shown bias in predicting future life events is related to depressive symptoms, with high levels of depressive symptoms being associated with pessimism in predictions. Depressive symptoms have also been associated with an external locus of control (i.e., the belief that one’s actions play little role in determining future outcomes). This study tested two separate approaches to (at least temporarily) inducing reduced endorsement of beliefs in an external locus of control—a writing task and a rating task—to examine whether these manipulations led to decreased bias in predictions compared to a control group. Additionally, this study examined whether locus of control or event controllability serve as moderators of the relation between bias in life event predictions and depressive symptoms. The manipulations used in this study failed to reduce participants’ endorsement of beliefs in an external locus of control. Unexpectedly, there was a trend for those who completed the writing task to exhibit a more optimistic bias in future event prediction than those in the rating task. Also, this study found little evidence in support of the hypothesis that locus of control serves as a moderator between depressive symptoms and bias in future event prediction and no evidence that controllability serves as a moderator between depressive symptoms and bias in future event prediction.
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