Explanatory style, coping style, and stress in seasonal affective disorder, subsyndromal seasonal affective disorder, and nonseasonal depression
Dew, Robert Peter
Master of Arts
DisciplinePsychology : Clinical
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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is characterized by the regular onset and remission of depressive episodes that follow a seasonal pattern. The present study investigated differences among SAD, S-SAD (subsyndromal SAD), nonseasonally depressed, and nondepressed individuals on the severity of typical and atypical depressive symptoms, and on cognitive variables including explanatory style, coping style and stress appraisal of winter-related stimuli. Results indicated that SAD could be distinguished from other groups in their negative reaction to winter-related stimuli. They experience more severe atypical symptoms, find them to be more impairing, ruminate more about the winter, and perceive themselves as less able to cope. Compared to depressed individuals, the SAD persons had more severe atypical symptoms, higher degree of seasonality, and greater focus on their depression. Compared to S-SAD, the SAD individuals reported more typical and atypical symptoms, greater degree of seasonality, more use of rumination and involvement in dangerous activities to cope with their depression, and more maladaptive explanatory style (more global and stable attributions). The depressed group differed from the S-SAD group in that they had more typical and atypical symptoms, less degree of seasonality, ruminated more on their depression, and had more negative reactions to winter. Except for their greater degree of seasonality, and their more unstable explanatory style, the S-SAD was no different from the nondepressed group.