Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 634–642 | Cite as

Mood Regulation and Cognitive Reactivity in Depression Vulnerability

  • Timo BrockmeyerEmail author
  • Nils Pfeiffer
  • Martin Grosse Holtforth
  • Johannes Zimmermann
  • Annette Kämmerer
  • Hans-Christoph Friederich
  • Hinrich Bents
Original Article


There is substantial evidence supporting the hypothesis that cognitive reactivity is an important variable in the etiology of depression. However, there is a lack of studies examining possible mechanisms that underlie cognitive reactivity. The present study tested whether two specific mood regulation processes differentially appear in vulnerable and non-vulnerable individuals, and whether they can account for differences in cognitive reactivity. In a cross-sectional experimental design, 20 formerly-depressed individuals (FD) were compared with 20 never-depressed individuals (ND). In an autobiographical memory task both groups differed concerning the use of positively and negatively toned emotion words: FD retrieved fewer positive emotion words than ND in the second phase of this task. Furthermore, FD with a high cognitive reactivity retrieved more negatively toned emotion words. In the ND group there was a different pattern: Subjects with a high cognitive reactivity retrieved less positively toned emotion words. Two different cognitive processes seem to account for cognitive reactivity in individuals who are at high versus low risk for depression.


Depression Vulnerability Emotion regulation Mood regulation Cognitive reactivity 



The first author was supported by a doctoral grant from the Centre for Psychological Psychotherapy of the University of Heidelberg. The third author was supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timo Brockmeyer
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Nils Pfeiffer
    • 2
  • Martin Grosse Holtforth
    • 3
  • Johannes Zimmermann
    • 4
  • Annette Kämmerer
    • 6
  • Hans-Christoph Friederich
    • 1
  • Hinrich Bents
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of General Internal Medicine and Psychosomatics, Centre for Psychosocial MedicineUniversity Hospital HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Schön Klinik RoseneckPrien am ChiemseeGermany
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KasselKasselGermany
  5. 5.Centre for Psychological PsychotherapyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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