Subclinical Depression and Performance Expectations, Evaluations of Performance, and Actual Performance

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Four hundred sixty-nine female and 311 male college students were administered a depression scale, an analogies test, and questions related to expectations and evaluations of performance. As predicted, significant negative correlations were found between subclinical depression and expectations and evaluations of performance. A significant negative correlation between depression and actual performance was apparent for females only. However, this correlation was much weaker than similar correlations previously reported for college student populations. It was concluded that low performance expectations constitute one dimension of subclinical depression. This suggests that Beck's theory of clinical depression, which holds that negative self-perceptions and other cognitions are importantly involved in depression, may be useful in understanding normal mood variation. The findings also suggest that some similarities exist between clinically and subclinically depressed groups in that both groups are reported to hold low performance expectations, but display minimal performance deficits.

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