Changing attitudes regarding the effectiveness of cognitive restructuring for treating depression

Greg J. Neimeyer1, April E. Metzler1, Tracy Dongarra1
1University of Florida, United States
Cite this article:  Neimeyer, G. J., Metzler, A. E., & Dongarra, T. (1990). Changing attitudes regarding the effectiveness of cognitive restructuring for treating depression. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 18, 181-188.

Volume 18 Issue 2 | e614 | Published: August 1990 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1990.18.2.181

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This study examined the impact of depression on attitude formation concerning the effectiveness of cognitive restructuring as a treatment technique. Based on the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion (Petty & Cacioppo, 1981a), we predicted that mild depression would enhance peripheral precessing by minimizing message elaboration. Subjects in the mixed-sex sample of 101 individuals were assigned to one of eight conditions which varied the quality of the persuasive intervention (high or low), the credibility of the source (high or low), and the level of depression reported by the subject (non-depressed, depressed). Consistent with predictions, depression enhanced peripheral processing. More highly depressed individuals responded more to the peripheral cue (source credibility) than did non-depressed subjects, although the quality of the interventions had an impact under both conditions. As with other recent studies, however, this attitudinal change did not generalize to behavioral indicators. The implications of these findings for further research and application are discussed.

This study examined the impact of depression on attitude formation concerning the effectiveness of cognitive restructuring as a treatment technique. Based on the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion (Petty & Cacioppo, 1981a), we predicted that mild depression would enhance peripheral precessing by minimizing message elaboration. Subjects in the mixed-sex sample of 101 individuals were assigned to one of eight conditions which varied the quality of the persuasive intervention (high or low), the credibility of the source (high or low), and the level of depression reported by the subject (non-depressed, depressed). Consistent with predictions, depression enhanced peripheral processing. More highly depressed individuals responded more to the peripheral cue (source credibility) than did non-depressed subjects, although the quality of the interventions had an impact under both conditions. As with other recent studies, however, this attitudinal change did not generalize to behavioral indicators. The implications of these findings for further research and application are discussed.

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