Depression and Expectations of Satisfaction

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12 participants in an adult education class titled “Coping with Depression” reported their expectations of satisfaction for planned pleasant events. Based upon a median split of Beck Depression Inventory scores, subjects were divided into depressed and nondepressed categories. Consistent with current psychosocial theories of depression, depressed subjects expected a significantly lower satisfaction from planned events than did nondepressed subjects. Depression scores were significantly correlated —.60 with expectations. In addition, a group of 12 psychology graduate students and staff rated the events planned by the depressed and nondepressed subjects for their inherent satisfaction. No significant differences were found between mean ratings of the events planned by depressed and nondepressed subjects. The depressed groups' expectations closely matched the ratings of the graduate students and staff. In contrast, nondepressed subjects' expectations were far higher. These results are discussed in terms of whether depressives' expectations are unrealistically pessimistic or are realistic.

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Psychological Reports, v. 57, issue 1, p. 99-102