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Think aloud statements and solutions of dysphoric persons on a social Problem-Solving task

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The purpose of the present study was to examine the self-statements of dysphoric (n=13) and nondysphoric subjects (n=15) during an interpersonal problem-solving task. After completing the Problem Solving Inventory (PSI; Heppner & Petersen, 1982), subjects were individually shown a brief videotape depicting an interpersonal problem and asked to solve the problem while thinking aloud. Frequencies of five self-statement categories were recorded: task-facilitating, task-inhibiting, emotion-focused, problem-focused, and periods of silence. Although the dysphoric subjects rated themselves more negatively on the PSI with regard to their problem-solving abilities, they were actually able to generate as many, and as effective, solutions as the nondysphoric subjects. During problem solving, however, the dysphoric subjects used fewer problem-focused statements and more emotion-focused statements. The frequencies of task-inhibiting and emotion-focused self-statements correlated negatively with the socially validated score of solution effectiveness.

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Author information

Correspondence to Vicki D. Mayo.

Additional information

This study was in part based on the first author's doctoral dissertation submitted to Hofstra University under the sponsorship of the second author. The authors thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

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Mayo, V.D., Tanaka-Matsumi, J. Think aloud statements and solutions of dysphoric persons on a social Problem-Solving task. Cogn Ther Res 20, 97–113 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02228029

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Key words

  • think aloud procedures
  • social problem solving
  • dysphoria
  • depression
  • self-statement