Award Date

12-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Christopher Heavey, Chair

Second Committee Member

Dan Allen

Third Committee Member

Marta Meana

Graduate Faculty Representative

Kathleen Robins

Number of Pages

118

Abstract

The inner experience of nine depressed and nine nondepressed individuals was explored using Descriptive Experience Sampling. Each participant completed four days of descriptive experience sampling, exploring about six moments of their inner experience on each sampling day. Although the Depressed participants self-reported substantially higher levels of depressive symptomatology on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D) on each day of sampling, the differences in the frequency of depressive symptomatology in the inner experiences of these two groups were not statistically significant. Despite the group differences not reaching statistical significance, the Depressed group experienced somewhat more frequent moments of depression, anxiety, fatigue, body discomfort, negative feelings, negative content, and fewer instances of positive feelings and content than the Nondepressed group. The two groups experienced the five most frequent phenomena of inner experience identified in prior DES studies (inner seeing, inner speaking, unsymbolized thinking, feelings, and sensory awareness) at similar rates. Moments reflecting constructs related to depression, such as Beck's Negative Cognitive Triad, were either very infrequent or absent. Overall, differences in the inner experience of the depressed and nondepressed participants observed via descriptive experience sampling were much less pronounced than the differences in their global self-reports of depressive symptomatology via the CES-D. The implications and possible reasons for this are discussed.

Keywords

Depressed persons; Depression; Mental--Psychological aspects; Introspection

Disciplines

Cognitive Psychology | Psychology

Language

English


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