You live and you learn: when fostering a learning perspective reduces depression
LE3 .A278 2018
Bachelor of Science
Recent research suggests that depression may be caused by a withdrawal from the goal to continue living. Moreover, depressed individuals are resistant to reactivating this goal due to the inescapable anxiety it causes them. However, this resistance also maintains depression. Building from existing literature on goal perspective, the current study was designed to test whether altering depressed people’s perspective on life will make them more willing to reactivate the goal to live, and thereby, reduce their depression. To do this, participants were randomly assigned to either write about life from a performance perspective (the goals they hope to achieve in life) or from a learning perspective (the growth they hope to achieve in life), and then all participants answered four questions to measure life reactivation. Results did not reveal any significant effects of goal perspective on life reactivation. However, those in the learning condition did experience a significant reduction in state depression, and this effect was especially strong for depressed individuals with a low desire for life. Implications for treating depression are discussed.
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