How do current dysphoria and past depression affect social information processing?

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Adele M. Hayes - Committee Chair


The study examined the relation between current dysphoric mood or past depression and social information processing. One hundred-twelve undergraduates classified by dysphoric status (dysphoric, not dysphoric) and depression history (history, no history) watched videotapes of first blind dates from a television program, wrote impressions about the daters, and completed the Beck Depression Inventory - Short Form (Beck & Beck, 1972); Inventory to Diagnose Depression - Lifetime (Zimmerman & Coryell, 1988), Attributional Complexity Scale (Fletcher et al., 1986), and measures of relationship pessimism, social information seeking, and video recall. Contrary to prediction, dysphoric versus nondysphoric participants did not write more impressions. As predicted, dysphoric and nondysphoric participants did not differ in attributional complexity or recall of dates. Contrary to hypotheses, those with a history vs. no history of depression did not write more impressions, show greater recall, or report higher attributional complexity. Currently dysphoric vs. nondysphoric students reported greater relationship pessimism and lower perceived interpersonal control. As predicted, history of depression was associated with more unwanted romantic break-ups and more pessimistic predictions about daters' interest in dating again. Suprisingly, men with a history of depression showed greater accuracy in predictions about daters than men with no history of depression or women with a depression history. The study did not provide support for Weary et al.'s (1993) contention that compared with nondsyphoric individuals, dysphoric individuals process social information more effortfully. Some results suggest that a history of depression may be associated with greater attention to cues indicating potential rejection.


Psychology, Social; Psychology, Clinical

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text