Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Br J Clin Psychol. 2016 Mar;55(1):23-48. doi: 10.1111/bjc.12087. Epub 2015 Jun 12.

Depression and prospection.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Prospection, the mental representation of possible futures, is usually adaptive. When it goes awry, however, it disrupts emotion and motivation. A negative view of the future is typically seen as one symptom of depression, but we suggest that such negative prospection is the core causal element of depression. Here, we describe the empirical evidence supporting this framework, and we explore the implications for clinical interventions.

METHODS:

We integrate several literatures: Using the database PsycInfo, we retrieved empirical studies with the keywords prospection, prediction, expectation, pessimism, mental simulation, future-thinking, future-directed thinking, foresight, and/or mental time travel, in conjunction with depression, depressed, or depressive.

RESULTS:

Three kinds of faulty prospection, taken together, could drive depression: Poor generation of possible futures, poor evaluation of possible futures, and negative beliefs about the future. Depressed mood and poor functioning, in turn, may maintain faulty prospection and feed a vicious cycle. Future-oriented treatment strategies drawn from cognitive-behavioural therapy help to fix poor prospection, and they deserve to be developed further.

CONCLUSIONS:

Prospection-based techniques may lead to transdiagnostic treatment strategies for depression and other disorders.

KEYWORDS:

depression; episodic foresight; future thinking; mental simulation; mental time travel; prospection; transdiagnostic

PMID:
26096347
DOI:
10.1111/bjc.12087
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center