Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 279–288 | Cite as

It’s All About Me: Self-Focused Attention and Depressed Mood

  • Denise M. Sloan


The present study examined self-focused attention in dysphoria under various mood conditions. Participants were randomly assigned to either a positive, negative, or neutral writing condition. Results indicated that dysphoric participants displayed significantly greater self-focused attention across all conditions relative to the non-dysphoric participants. Taken together, these findings indicate that heightened self-focused attention is a pervasive pattern in dysphoric persons that may contribute to maintenance of a dysphoric mood state.


dysphoria self-focus attention written disclosure 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (1996). Beck Depression Inventory: Manual (2nd ed.). San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  2. Berenbaum, H., & Oltmanns, T. F. (1992). Emotional experience and expression in schizophrenia and depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101, 37–44.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradley, M. M., Greenwald, M. K., Petry, M., & Lang, P. J. (1992). Remembering pictures: Pleasure and arousal in memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 18, 379–390.Google Scholar
  4. Bradley, M. M., & Lang, P. J. (1994). Measuring emotion: The Self-Assessment Manikin and the semantic differential. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 25, 49–59.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Clark, D. A., Crewdson, N., & Purdon, C. (1998). No worries, no cares: An investigation into self-reported “nondistress” in college students. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 22, 209–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Deldin, P. J., Keller, J., Gergen, J. A., & Miller, G. A. (2001). Cognitive bias and emotion in neuropsychological models of depression. Cognition and Emotion, 15, 787–802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Edison, J. D., & Adams, H. E. (1992). Depression, self-focus, and social interactions. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 14, 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fenigstein, A., Scheier, M. F., & Buss, A. H. (1975). Public and private self-consciousness: Assessment and theory. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43, 522–527.Google Scholar
  9. Flory, J. D., Raeikkoenen, K., Matthews, K. A., & Owens, J. F. (2000). Self-focused attention and mood during everyday social interactions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 875–883.Google Scholar
  10. Hamilton, N. A., & Ingram, R. E. (2001). Self-focused attention and coping: Attending to the right things. In C. R. Snyder (Ed.), Coping with stress: Effective people and processes (pp. 178–195). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Ingram, R. E. (1990). Self-focused attention in clinical disorders: Review and a conceptual model. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 156–176.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Ingram, R. E., & Wisnicki, K. (1999). Situational specificity of self-focused attention in dysphoric states. Cognitive Therapy & Research, 23, 625–636.Google Scholar
  13. Joiner, T. E., Schmidt, K. L., & Metalsky, G. I. (1994). Low-end specificity of the Beck Depression Inventory. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 18, 55–68.Google Scholar
  14. Kendall, P. C., Hollon, S. D., Beck, A. T., Hammen, C. L., & Ingram, R. E. (1987). Issues and recommendations regarding use of the Beck Depression Inventory. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 11, 289–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mineka, S., & Gilboa, E. (1998). Cognitive bias in anxiety and depression. In W. F. Flack Jr. & J. D. Laird (Eds.), Emotions in psychopathology: Theory and research. Series in affective science (pp. 216–228). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Mor, N., & Winquist, J. (2002). Self-focused attention and negative affect: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 638–662.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2000). The role of rumination in depressive disorders and mixed anxiety/depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109, 504–511.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Morrow, J. (1991). A prospective study of depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms after a natural disaster, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 115–121.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological Science, 8, 162–166.Google Scholar
  20. Pennebaker, J. W., & Francis, M. (1996). Cognitive, emotional, and language processes in disclosure. Cognition and Emotion, 10, 601–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pennebaker, J. W., Francis, M. E., & Booth, R. J. (2001). Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC): LIWC2001. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Publishers.Google Scholar
  22. Pyszczynski, T., & Greenberg, J. (1985). Depression and preference for self-focusing stimuli following success and failure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 1066–1075.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Pyszczynski, T., & Greenberg, J. (1987). Self-regulatory preservation and the depressive self-focusing style: A self-awareness theory of reactive depression. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 122–138.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Rosenthal, R., Rosnow, R. L., & Rubin, D. B. (2000). Contrasts and effect sizes in behavioral research. A correlational approach. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Rude, S. S., Gortner, E. M., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2004). Language use of depressed and depression-vulnerable college students. Cognition and Emotion, 18, 1121–1133.Google Scholar
  26. Salovey, P. (1992). Mood-induced self-focused attention. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 699–707.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2002). Cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  28. Silva, P. J., & Abele, A. E. (2002). Can positive affect induce self-focused attention? Methodological and measurement issues. Cognition and Emotion, 16, 845–853.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sloan, D. M., & Marx, B. P. (2004). Taking pen to hand: Evaluating possible theories underlying written disclosure paradigm. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 121–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sloan, D. M., Strauss, M. E., Quirk, S. W., & Sajatovik, M. (1997). Subjective and expressive emotional responses in depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 46, 135–141.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Sloan, D. M., Strauss, M. E., & Wisner, K. E. (2001). Diminished pleasurable response in depressed women. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 110, 488–493.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Walker, W. R., Skowronski, J. J., & Thompson, C. P. (2003). Life is pleasant- and memory helps us to keep it that way! Review of General Psychology, 7, 203–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., Weber, K., & Assenheimer, J. S. (1995). Testing the tripartite model: II. Exploring the symptom structure of anxiety and depression in student, adult, and patient samples. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 104, 15–25.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Woodruff-Borden, J., Brothers, A. J., & Lister, S. C. (2001). Self-focused attention: Commonalities across psychopathologies and predictors. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 29, 169–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphia

Personalised recommendations