Depressive thinking: shifts in construct accessibility or in schematic mental models?
Teasdale JD., Taylor MJ., Cooper Z., Hayhurst H., Paykel ES.
Alternative explanations for depression-related changes in thinking were examined. Forty-one depressed patients and 40 controls completed sentence stems involving social approval or personal achievement such as "If I could always be right then others would __ me." The view that depressive thinking primarily reflects a generalized increase in accessibility of negative constructs predicts patients will give more negative completions (e.g., "dislike"). Alternatively, depression could affect the interrelationships between constructs: Use in depression of schematic mental models implying closer dependence of personal worth--acceptance on success--approval predicts patients may give more positive completions (e.g., "like"). Results supported the latter prediction and suggest that depressive thinking reflects changes in high-level mental models used to interpret experience.