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Behav Res Ther. 1998 Apr;36(4):361-84.

The only way out is through: emotional processing and recovery after a depressing life event.

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University of Pennsylvania, Department of Psychology, Philadelphia 19010, USA.


This two-part study addresses the question of whether emotional processing is a useful strategy for coping with dysphoria following a depressing life event. In Part I, after a covert, moderately distressing mood induction, subjects who were assigned to an emotional processing condition reported better mood in the long run than subjects who were assigned to either distraction or unemotional problem solving conditions. In Part II, content analysis of the essays written by the subjects supported a simple habituation model of the benefits of emotional processing. Weak support was also found for the hypothesis that low to moderate levels of emotional arousal potentiate positive cognitive restructuring. Taken together, the results suggest that the negative emotional arousal that accompanies activation of depressive schemata may be a component of natural recovery from depression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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