Faulty prospection may be the core process underlying depression

Prospection: the mental representation of possible futures. A negative view of the future is typically seen as one symptom of depression, but researchers suggest that such negative prospection is the core causal element of depression.

Their meta analysis suggests that three kinds of faulty prospection, taken together, could drive depression:

  1. Poor generation of possible futures
  2. Poor evaluation of possible futures
  3. Negative beliefs about the future

Depressed mood and poor functioning, in turn, may maintain faulty prospection and feed a vicious cycle.

The researchers suggest that future-oriented treatment strategies drawn from cognitive-behavioural therapy help to fix poor prospection.

Roepke, A. M. and Seligman, M. E. P. (2015), Depression and prospection. British Journal of Clinical Psychology

 

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