Background: Depression is characterized by different forms of overgeneralization that are all assumed to play a causal role in the development and course of depression. Methods: We examined, in a community sample of over 625 individuals, whether these different forms of overgeneralization are correlated and whether they are prospective predictors of depression at 6-month follow-up. Results: Negative overgeneralization to the self and across situations—two types of overgeneralized thinking processes—were significantly but weakly related, but neither of them was related to overgeneral memory—a memory-based form of overgeneralization. Overgeneralization to the self and overgeneral memory both predicted depression symptoms at follow-up. Further, two and three-way interactions indicated that higher levels of overgeneralization processes interact to predict depressive symptoms. Overgeneralization to the self and overgeneral memory both independently predicted probable recurrence of a major depressive episode during the follow-up period in individuals that formerly experienced depression. Conclusions: Findings suggest that overgeneralization in depression is not a unitary construct and that different overgeneralization processes play independent and interacting roles in the course of depression.
- Cognitive distortion
- Overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology