The effect of rumination on social problem-solving and autobiographical memory retrieval in depression : a cross-cultural perspective
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Previous research has indicated that depression and thinking style (rumination versus distraction) interact to influence cognitive processing. Depressed ruminators produce more categoric autobiographical memories (AM) (i.e., a summary of repeated memories), and also demonstrate poorer SPS performance than depressed distracters and matched controls. The quality of AM retrieval during SPS is also related to the effectiveness of SPS solutions such that categoric AM retrieval during SPS contributes to poorer SPS. Therefore, the first aim of this thesis was to extend previous work by further investigating how an induced rumination/distraction influences subsequent AM retrieval during SPS and SPS performance. The first two studies examined how thinking style influences SPS and AM retrieval during SPS in a dysphoric (study 1) versus clinically depressed sample (study 2). The results indicated that rumination has a detrimental effect on SPS in both dysphoric and clinically depressed samples, with more pronounced effects in the clinical group. Rumination also appeared to influence AM retrieval during SPS for the clinically depressed group but not the dysphoric group. Moreover, in both samples, SPS performance was associated with the type of AM retrieval involved in the SPS process. As most studies investigating cognitive processes in depression have focused on Western people, a second aim of this thesis was to examine the association between thinking style, AM retrieval and SPS performance in depression from a cross-cultural perspective. The first cross-cultural study (Study 3) looked at AM retrieval on the AMT cueing task and the second cross-cultural study (Study 4) investigated whether these associations between thinking style, SPS and AM retrieval would vary across different cultures. Culture interacted with depression to influence AM retrieval on the AMT cueing task. However study 4 demonstrated that there seemed to be no interaction between culture, rumination and depression on SPS performance and AM retrieval during SPS.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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