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Depression and looming cognitive style: Examining the mediating effect of perceived control

Duffy, Jessica ORCID: https://orcid.org/0009-0004-8159-8776, Cole, Scott ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8176-283X, Charura, Divine ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3509-9392 and Shevchenko, Jennifer ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8717-0437 (2024) Depression and looming cognitive style: Examining the mediating effect of perceived control. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, 15. p. 100698.

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Individuals with a looming cognitive style (LCS) bias display a tendency to interpret threat representations as rapidly approaching and rising in risk. The present study is the first to investigate whether the relationship between LCS and depression is mediated by perceived control (over evading threats).

After completing mood questionnaires, participants recorded future-self threats (feared possible selves) and rated their threat representations on a measure of perceived control. LCS was measured using an adapted version of the looming maladaptive style questionnaire. In total 74 participants were recruited through university research participation.

Perceived control was significantly related to depression (r = -.3, p = .011) and LCS (r =-.27, p = .019) but not to anxiety (r =-.14, p = .223). Mediation analyses revealed that control mediated the relationship between depression and LCS, when anxiety was entered as a covariate 95 % CI [.03, .79].

The present study used a measure of symptom severity rather than clinical diagnoses of anxiety and depression. Also, the sample consisted of 81 % female and 100 % university students which limits the generalisability of the findings. Finally, the cross-sectional study design does not imply causation.

The present study provided evidence for a potential mechanism through which LCS maintains depression. The analyses have important implications for interventions designed to prevent depression comorbidity. Future studies should apply longitudinal methods to investigate how changes in perceived control influences depression.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadr.2023.100698
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/9128

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