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Behav Res Ther. 1995 Jan;33(1):41-8.

Perspectives on depressive realism: implications for cognitive theory of depression.

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Department of Psychology, American University, Washington, DC 20016-8062.


Beck's cognitive theory of depression has provided a successful description of depressive thinking, with one major exception. The hypothesis that depressed people show biased negative thinking seems contradicted by research indicating that Ss scoring 9 or above on the Beck Depression Inventory were more accurate than their nondepressed counterparts in judging contingencies between their responses and outcomes, seemingly showing "depressive realism". Depressive realism research has attracted attention in numerous areas of psychology, along with critical commentary focused on such issues as whether realism is limited to mild depressive states, whether laboratory tasks are sufficient to document realism, and whether realism is a general characteristic of either depressed or nondepressed people. We analyze the main critiques and show how debates about depressive realism can be heuristic for refinement of cognitive theory of depression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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