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23-10-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 1/2020

Cognitive Therapy and Research 1/2020

Forecasting the Future, Remembering the Past: Misrepresentations of Daily Emotional Experience in Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 1/2020
Danielle C. Mathersul, Ayelet Meron Ruscio
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Studies have shown that individuals with emotional disorders expect and recall more negative and less positive information than healthy individuals. However, no study of emotional disorders has investigated affective forecasting and affective memory within the same individuals. Using ecological momentary assessment, we compared daily affective experiences to forecasts and memories in 145 adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), major depressive disorder (MDD), comorbid GAD/MDD, or no psychopathology. All three clinical groups forecast, experienced, and remembered more negative affect than controls; positive affect showed the opposite pattern, which was especially robust for the depressed groups. All clinical groups demonstrated stronger negative forecasting and memory biases as well as a weaker positive forecasting bias than controls. However, when the independent contributions of symptom dimensions were analyzed, MDD severity was associated with a negative forecasting bias while GAD severity was associated with a negative memory bias. Cognitive representations of emotional experiences in GAD and MDD are biased in ways that may maintain the disorders and represent promising intervention targets.

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