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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2008 Jul;34(7):924-38. doi: 10.1177/0146167208315938. Epub 2008 May 9.

Facilitating adaptive emotional analysis: distinguishing distanced-analysis of depressive experiences from immersed-analysis and distraction.

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  • 1Columbia University, USA.


Two studies examined the psychological processes that facilitate adaptive emotional analysis. In Study 1, participants recalled a depression experience and then analyzed their feelings from either a self-immersed (immersed-analysis) or self-distanced (distanced-analysis) perspective. Participants in the distanced-analysis group focused less on recounting their experience and more on reconstruing it, which in turn led to lower levels of depressed affect. Furthermore, comparisons to a distraction group indicated that distanced-analysis was as effective as distraction in reducing depressed affect relative to the immersed-analysis group. Study 2 replicated these findings and showed that both 1 day and 7 days after the experimental manipulations, participants in the distanced-analysis group remained buffered against depressed affect and reported experiencing fewer recurring thoughts about their depression experience over time compared to both the immersed-analysis and distraction groups.

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