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Depression, Nondepression, and Social Comparison Biases

  • Lauren B. Alloy
  • Jeanne S. Albright
  • Caroline M. Clements
Chapter

Abstract

Throughout history, depression has been characterized as a turning against the self in which the depressed individual becomes preoccupied with the negative aspects of his or her character and experiences (Musson & Alloy, in press). Friends and family of depressed persons often experience the tenacity of the depressive’s negative self-concept firsthand when they attempt unsuccessfully to dissuade the depressive from negative evaluations of his or her appearance, accomplishments, and worth in general. These negative self-evaluations have been recognized by many theorists from diverse schools of thought to be critical features of depression. For example, according to Beck’s cognitive model of depression (Beck, 1967, 1976), negative perceptions of the self are core symptoms and causes of depression. Beck argued that depressives have a “systematic bias against the self’ that results from specific logical errors in interpreting reality. Similarly, psychoanalysts have emphasized low self-esteem (e.g., Bibring, 1953; Fenichel, 1945; Freud, 1917/1957) as the feature that distinguishes depression from grief. From a behavioral perspective (e.g., Bandura, 1977; Rehm, 1977), unrealistic personal standards and inadequate self-reinforcement have been implicated in depressive negative self-concept. Also, Lewinsohn (1974) argued that depressives lack the necessary social skills for obtaining reinforcement, which may result in negative self-perceptions.

Keywords

Depressed Patient Social Comparison Cognitive Therapy Attributional Style Depressed Individual 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren B. Alloy
  • Jeanne S. Albright
  • Caroline M. Clements

There are no affiliations available

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