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Solution Focused vs Problem Focused Questions on Affect and Processing Speed among Individuals with Depression


The present study investigated the effect of solution-focused and problem-focused questions on affect and processing speed in a sample of 60 individuals diagnosed with depression. Participants were equally and randomly assigned to the solution focused question group, problem focused question group, and delayed experimental group. The Beck depression inventory-II was used to assess the severity of depressive symptoms of the participants. The positive and negative affect schedule was used to measure affect. Symbol search and coding were used to measure the processing speed. Solution-focused questions significantly reduced negative affect and improved coding compared to problem-focused questions. Even though there was no significant interaction between the groups in positive affect and symbol search test performance, solution-focused questions caused simple effects in both. Findings imply the scope of solution-focused questions as psychological first aid in intervening depression. Possible long-term effects of solution-focused questions on individuals with depression were discussed.

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Correspondence to Santhosh Kareepadath Rajan.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. All the authors have read and approved the version to be published. All the authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

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The study was approved by the ethics committee at the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS), Kerala, India. We certify that the study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments and the American Psychology Association code of ethics.

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All the participants and their concerned bystanders provided informed consent to participate before data collection. In the current data, no identifying characteristics of the participants are involved.

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Koorankot, J., Moosa, A., Froerer, A. et al. Solution Focused vs Problem Focused Questions on Affect and Processing Speed among Individuals with Depression. J Contemp Psychother (2022).

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  • Solution focused brief therapy
  • Solution focused questions
  • Depression
  • Affect
  • Processing speed