Award Date

8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Christopher L. Heavey, Chair

Second Committee Member

Russell T. Hurlburt

Third Committee Member

David Copeland

Graduate Faculty Representative

Jennifer Keene

Number of Pages

206

Abstract

Emotions, such as sadness, guilt, and irritability, are at the core of depressive symptoms and suggest a need for an in-depth understanding of feelings, the experiential component of emotion, during depression. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe the experience of emotion in depressed participants and find out if these experiences are similar to those of nondepressed participants. Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES) was used to sample five depressed and four nondepressed participants for four days and then in a controlled setting while watching positive, negative, and neutral film clips. Due to the limited sample size, this study was largely exploratory. The primary findings were that depressed participants experienced more feelings than nondepressed participants. They also experienced a higher ratio of negative to positive feelings and more sadness in response to the negative film clip. In addition, depressed participants experienced more secondary depressive symptoms in momentary awareness. However, differences between the groups in overall experience of depression in momentary experience were much smaller than was expected based upon their differences on a depression questionnaire. Additionally, depressed participants' feelings included the types of phenomena that have been found in previous studies of nondepressed participants. The depressed participants also demonstrated a significant decline in self-reported depression over the course of the study.

Keywords

Depression; Mental; Descriptive Experience Sampling; Emotions; Experience sampling; Feelings; Inner experience; Introspection

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology

Language

English


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