Publication Date

2010-01-01

Availability

Open access

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2009-11-09

First Committee Member

Jutta Joormann - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Debra Lieberman - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Raymond L. Ownby - Committee Member

Abstract

There is much evidence that people are inaccurate in predicting the impact of future situations on their emotions. At the same time, affective forecasts have important implications for behavior, decision-making, and current mood, and may play an important role in the maintenance of emotional disorders. This study investigated two factors that influence affective forecasting: (1) Whether affective forecasting is associated with depressive symptoms and (2) Whether strategies people use to regulate their current affect influence their predictions of future emotional responses. Participants ruminated or reappraised in response to a sad mood and completed a measure of depressive symptoms (BDI). Results indicated that severity of depression symptoms was related to forecasts of greater sadness and anger to positive scenarios, as well as negative appraisals of future negative events. As expected, both BDI score and habitual use of emotion regulation strategies were correlated with participants' predictions about use and effectiveness of emotion regulation strategies in response to future scenarios. Results reinforced the usefulness of examining future-oriented cognitive processes in depression, providing insight into the role of hopelessness in the disorder. This study also shed light on the relationship between depression and predictions about the use and effectiveness of various emotion regulation strategies.

Keywords

Depression; Affective Forecasting; Emotion Regulation; Rumination; Cognition; Reappraisal

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