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Vol. 46, No. 1, 2013
Issue release date: November 2012
Section title: Original Paper
Psychopathology 2013;46:34–44
(DOI:10.1159/000338632)

Proneness to Decreased Negative Emotions in Major Depressive Disorder when Blaming Others rather than Oneself

Green S. · Moll J. · Deakin J.F.W. · Hulleman J. · Zahn R.
aThe University of Manchester and Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, School of Psychological Sciences, Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit, Manchester, UK; bCognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Unit, D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; cThe University of Manchester and Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, School of Medicine, Neuroscience and Psychiatry Unit, and dThe University of Manchester, School of Psychological Sciences, Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group, Manchester, UK

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: 9/22/2011 3:30:48 PM
Accepted: 3/31/2012
Published online: 8/7/2012

Number of Print Pages: 11
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 5

ISSN: 0254-4962 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-033X (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PSP

Abstract

Background: One widespread view holds that vulnerability to major depressive disorder (MDD) is linked to overall increases in negative emotionality. In contrast, cognitive attribution theories emphasize the importance of blaming oneself rather than others for negative events. Thus far, the contrasting predictions of these models have not been directly compared. Following the attributional perspective, we tested the hypothesis that people with remitted MDD show no overall bias towards negative emotions, but a selective bias towards self-blaming emotions relative to those emotions associated with blaming others. Sampling and Methods: We compared a remitted MDD and a control group on a novel experimental test that allowed us to directly compare proneness to specific emotions associated with different types of self-blame (guilt, shame, self-contempt/disgust) and blame of others (other-indignation/anger, other-contempt/disgust) whilst controlling for negative valence and medication status, and excluding comorbidity. Results: In agreement with our hypothesis, individuals with remitted MDD exhibited an increased self-contempt bias (difference between contempt/disgust towards self and others) but no increased proneness to any other negative emotion or overall increases in perceived negative valence of stimuli. Moreover, the remitted MDD group exhibited reduced contempt/disgust towards others. Conclusions: Our results corroborate the prediction that vulnerability to MDD is associated with an imbalance of specific self- and other-blaming emotions rather than a general increase in negative emotions. Based on the composition of our sample, we speculate that self-contempt bias may be particularly characteristic of melancholic MDD subtypes and could be useful for stratification of depression in the future.


  

Author Contacts

Dr. Roland Zahn
The University of Manchester, School of Psychological Sciences
Neuroscience & Aphasia Research Unit
Manchester, M13 9PL (UK)
Tel. +44 161 27 57338, E-Mail roland.zahn@manchester.ac.uk

  

Article Information

Received: September 22, 2011
Accepted after revision: March 31, 2012
Published online: August 7, 2012
Number of Print Pages : 11
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 5, Number of References : 69

  

Publication Details

Psychopathology (International Journal of Descriptive and Experimental Psychopathology, Phenomenology and Psychiatric Diagnosis)

Vol. 46, No. 1, Year 2013 (Cover Date: November 2012)

Journal Editor: Herpertz S.C. (Heidelberg)
ISSN: 0254-4962 (Print), eISSN: 1423-033X (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PSP


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: 9/22/2011 3:30:48 PM
Accepted: 3/31/2012
Published online: 8/7/2012

Number of Print Pages: 11
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 5

ISSN: 0254-4962 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-033X (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PSP


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