Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Consistent with the combined cognitive bias hypothesis (Hirsch, Clark, & Mathews, 2006), cognitive biases in attention, memory, and interpretation have been posited as an underlying vulnerability to the maintenance and recurrence of depressive episodes. While research supports the presence of these biases during current depressive episodes, there is limited evidence that these biases persist following the remission of depression symptoms. However, there is some initial data that suggest that these biases persist in remitted depressed individuals, indicating that these biases may serve as a vulnerability factor for subsequent depressive episodes. In addition, there is little research that has evaluated these biases in remitted depressed individuals to identify whether these biases are explained by a common negatively biased cognitive style that serves as the vulnerability factor for subsequent depression symptoms. The broad objective of this study was to evaluate cognitive biases across attention, memory, and interpretation using experimental measures (i.e. think/no-think paradigm, dot probe, and scrambled sentences test) in a remitted depressed and never depressed sample. Overall, the results suggest that only interpretation biases may persist following the remission of depression symptoms. There was limited support for ongoing processing biases in attention and memory in the remitted depression group. Implications for further research and clinical treatment are discussed.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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