Representations of the future in depression. A qualitative study
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Previous studies indicate that the ability to imagine negative and positive future events affect psychological well-being and is a characteristic feature of depression. The aim of this study was to investigate how depressed individuals view their future along different time periods. A total of 15 individuals with a diagnosis of major depression were recruited from a psychiatry clinic and completed a semi-structured qualitative interview. Questions were asked about the situation right now, before becoming depressed, and the future (nearest time, within a year and the upcoming 5-10 years). Data were collected and analysed using open-ended methodology in line with the principles of grounded theory. The results showed that depressed individuals experienced a state of “ambivalence”, with negative cognitive, emotional, physical and socioeconomic consequences, when they were asked to think about their nearest future. Ambivalence and its negative emotional and cognitive effects were substantially reduced in strength when they were asked about their more distant future. We conclude that ambivalence in the present may be an important feature of depression which deserves more attention from both a theoretical and clinical perspective. The use of qualitative approaches in the study of depression is encouraged.
Future thinking; depression; ambivalence, time horizons
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-72213OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-72213DiVA: diva2:458325