Depression, Self-Focused Attention, and Self-Regulatory Perseveration

  • Tom Pyszczynski
  • Jeff Greenberg
Part of the The Plenum Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


The tendency of depressed individuals to dwell excessively on their current and past negative life experiences has been noted by a wide variety of clinically oriented theorists, from Sigmund Freud to Aaron Beck. Depressed individuals have been characterized as self-obsessed or self-preoccupied, and as sinking into the self (cf. Abraham, 1911; Arieti & Bemporad, 1978; Beck, 1967, 1976; Mollon & Parry, 1984). In addition, it has often been noted that depressives tend to be especially critical of themselves and to engage constantly in comparisons of themselves with unrealistic and unattainable standards (e.g., Abramson & Sackheim, 1977; Arieti & Bemporad, 1978; Beck, 1967; Bibring, 1953; Freud, 1917/1957). Interestingly, recent theory and research on the consequences of self-focused attention (cf. Carver & Scheier, 1981; Duval & Wicklund, 1972; Wicklund, 1975) suggests that these self-obsessive tendencies are likely to have serious negative consequences, especially for persons who have recently experienced a major loss or failure.


Negative Affect Attributional Style Depressed Individual Experimental Social Psychology Depressed Subject 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Pyszczynski
    • 1
  • Jeff Greenberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ColoradoColorado SpringsUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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