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Are the Clinically Depressed Just More Realistic?

It is often reported that we all tend to delude ourselves and actively distort our assessments of the probability of events occurring about us, but only one group of people are able to predict the likelihood of those events occurring better than the rest of us, the clinically depressed! A recent study seems to bear this out (J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2011 Oct 5; vol. 43(2) pp. 699-704 Confidence judgment in depression and dysphoria: The depressive realism vs. negativity hypotheses. Zu-Ting Fu T, Koutstaal W, Poon L, Cleare AJ). See the abstract below (I have edited out the methodology as if you are interested in that you would need to examine the original and full text.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: According to the negativity hypothesis, depressed individuals are over-pessimistic due to negative self-concepts. In contrast, depressive realism suggests that depressed persons are realistic compared to their nondepressed controls. However, evidence supporting depressive realism predominantly comes from judgment comparisons between controls and nonclinical dysphoric samples when the controls showed overconfident bias. This study aimed to test the validity of the two accounts in clinical depression and dysphoria. CONCLUSION: The present study confirms depressive realism in dysphoric individuals. However, toward a more severe depressive emotional state, the findings did not support depressive realism but are in line with the prediction of the negativity hypothesis. It is not possible to determine the validity of the two hypotheses when the controls are overconfident. Dissociation between item-by-item and retrospective confidence judgments is discussed.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Affiliation: Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, 6F, No. 16, Alley 10, Lane 437, Pa-The Rd Sec 2, Taipei 10552, Taiwan.

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Filed under: Other Mental Health, ,

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