Personal Constructs among Depressed Patients

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The Kelly Role Construct Repertory Test (rep grid) was administered to 19 depressed patients, 19 psychiatric controls, and 19 normal controls. Tests were analyzed to produce measures of cognitive complexity, self-ideal congruency, negative self-construing, identification (self-other distances), and consistency of within-factor self-attribution. In comparison to the two control groups, three characteristics of depressed patients emerged: a) the well known tendency to construe oneself negatively occurred but not in terms of a greater number of factors with consistent negative self-description; instead, b) depressed patients had more mixed (positive and negative) self-description than other patients, thus suggesting a propensity to cognitive slot movement; finally, c) independent of positivity/negativity, depressed patients had a greater tendency to view themselves as different from others. From these findings a formulation about depression is presented, and implications for etiology and treatment are discussed.

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