Research suggests pessimistic thinking could cause depression
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It’s common to assume that depression gives people a bleak view of the future.
But could it be the other way around?
Psychological research suggests being pessimistic about the future may actually cause depression.
Professor Martin Seligman and Ann Marie Roepke reviewed the research on how people think about the future.
They found that there are three ways in which thinking about the future may cause depression:
- Poor generation of possible futures.
- Poor evaluation of possible futures.
- Negative beliefs about the future.
Depression also likely feeds back into more negative views of the future, creating a vicious circle.
Pessimistic thinking can be addressed by cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT, aka cognitive therapy (CT)) and other evidence-based therapies.
The study was published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology (Roepke & Seligman, 2015).
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