Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent Small, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edelyn Verona, Ph.D.


mood disorders, recovery, locus of control, coping, reappraisal, social support


Excellent outcomes after major depression, including the possibility of optimal well-being (OWB), are understudied. In a previous investigation, nearly 10% of initially depressed adults met OWB criteria 10-years later, yet little is known about factors that explain OWB after depression. This study examined whether sense of control (SOC) beliefs and coping behaviors, specifically, reappraisal and seeking social support, predict OWB after depression. Secondary data analyses were conducted on Waves 1 and 2 of the Midlife Development in the United States (1995–1996; 2004–2006; MIDUS) study, which includes a nationally representative sample of middle-aged adults. Participants in the present analyses met DSM-III depression criteria and completed relevant Wave 1 questionnaires (N = 418), of which 23 met criteria for recovery and OWB (exceed cutoffs across nine facets of psychological well-being that characterize the top 25% of U.S. non-depressed adults). Zero-order correlations examined whether SOC beliefs, positive reappraisal, and seeking social support at Wave 1 associated with OWB after depression 10 years later, at Wave 2. Reappraisal, but not advice seeking, correlated with OWB after depression with small effects (r = .13, p < .05); the reappraisal effect was no longer significant when controlling for SOC beliefs. Meanwhile, SOC beliefs significantly predicted OWB after depression (OR = 2.19, 95% CI: 1.15, 4.19, p = .046), even controlling for age, gender, education, depression severity, and overall well-being (ps > .05). As a malleable psychological variable, SOC may be a potential target for interventions that would increase the likelihood of OWB after depression.