Should depressed people focus on their low mood? Adaptive and maladaptive processing modes in unipolar depression

Sanders, Winston A

Cinical psychology
July 2008

Thesis or dissertation

© 2008 Winston A Sanders. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is hypothesised to reduce the risk of depressive relapse by teaching participants to adopt a mindful rather than a ruminative mode of information processing. This study aimed to examine the effects of state and trait ruminative and mindful modes of processing on Social Problem Solving (SPS) and affect in participants vulnerable to depressive relapse. Dysphoric participants with and without a history of depression were assessed for SPS and affect before and after manipulations designed to induce mindful (experiential) or ruminative (analytic) processing modes. Results indicated that increased trait rumination was associated with increased SPS ability following mindful processing only. Increased SPS ability was found following mindful processing for recovered depressed participants with less than three episodes of depression, but not for those with more than two. Trait mindfulness was found to influence SPS ability dependent upon processing condition and depression history. Processing conditions had equivalent effect on mood. These findings suggest that mindful processing may help reduce the risk of depressive relapse by increasing SPS in those with low mood and high levels of trait rumination. The influence of trait mindfulness and number of depressive episodes on the effectiveness of mindful processing inductions warrants further investigation.

Department of Clinical Psychology, Postgraduate Medical Institute, The University of Hull
Lam, Dominic
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