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Clin Psychol Psychother. 2011 Jan-Feb;18(1):23-33. doi: 10.1002/cpp.697.

Be careful what you strive for: the significance of motive-goal congruence for depressivity.

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  • 1Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.


In a sample of 61 psychotherapy outpatients, the current study investigated the association between progress at motive-congruent personal goals and depressivity. In a correlational design, motives were measured with a Picture Story Exercise. Personal goals and goal progress were assessed using a self-report approach. The Beck Depression Inventory was used to determine patients' levels of depressive symptoms. In accordance with Beck's congruency hypothesis, results showed that only motive-congruent goal progress was related to depressivity. Motive-incongruent progress could not account for interindividual differences in depressive symptoms. Implications of the findings are discussed in terms of the aetiology of depression and the definition of explicit treatment goals.

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