Decreased Cognitive Functioning In Depression: A Result Of Inherent Deficits Or A By-Product Of Emotion Regulation?

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kathryn Hardin (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Lisa Emery

Abstract: Past research has found that depression is associated with both increased rumination and decreased memory ability. Some researchers think rumination may increase cognitive load and consequently might impair memory ability directly. The purpose of the present study was to determine if rumination might cause memory deficits found in depression. In this study, 100 young adult participants were asked to verbally describe a recent emotionally upsetting negative event to the experimenter. Afterwards, participants were randomly assigned to either ruminate (rumination condition) or were given no further instruction (control condition). All participants then completed parts of the Wechsler Memory Scale – Fourth Edition (WMS-IV) to measure verbal and visual memory. Participants also completed several questionnaires, including the Beck Depression Inventory-II to measure depressive symptoms and the Ruminative Response Scale to measure habitual rumination. Contrary to the hypothesis, there were no significant differences in visual or verbal memory scores between the rumination and control conditions, and depressive symptoms did not moderate the effect. In addition, and in contrast to previous literature, there was no relationship between depression and memory performance, and a small positive correlation between memory and habitual rumination. These results suggest that rumination may not be as cognitively harmful as previously theorized.

Additional Information

Hardin, K. (2017). "Decreased Cognitive Functioning In Depression: A Result Of Inherent Deficits Or A By-Product Of Emotion Regulation?" Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2017
Cognition, memory, depression, emotion regulation, rumination

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