Depressed people are not less motivated by personal goals but are more pessimistic about attaining them
Dickson, Joanne M.
Moberly, Nicholas J.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology
American Psychological Association
Despite its theoretical importance, personal goal motivation has rarely been examined in clinical depression. Here we investigate whether clinically depressed persons (n = 23) differ from never-depressed persons (n = 26) on number of freely generated approach and avoidance goals, appraisals of these goals, and reasons why these goals would and would not be achieved. Participants listed approach and avoidance goals separately and generated explanations for why they would (pro) and would not (con) achieve their most important approach and avoidance goals, before rating the importance, likelihood, and perceived control of goal outcomes. Counter to hypothesis, depressed persons did not differ from never-depressed controls on number of approach or avoidance goals, or on the perceived importance of these goals. However, compared to never-depressed controls, depressed individuals gave lower likelihood judgments for desirable approach goal outcomes, tended to give higher likelihood judgments for undesirable to-be-avoided goal outcomes, and gave lower ratings of their control over goal outcomes. Furthermore, although controls generated significantly more pro than con reasons for goal achievement, depressed participants did not. These results suggest that depressed persons do not lack valued goals but are more pessimistic about their likelihood, controllability, and reasons for successful goal attainment.
This is a postprint of an article published in Journal of Abnormal Psychology © 2011 copyright American Psychological Association. 'This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.' Journal of Abnormal Psychology is available online at: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/abn/index.aspx
Vol. 120, Issue 4, pp. 975 - 980
Place of publication