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13-01-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2016

Cognitive Therapy and Research 4/2016

Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions Increases Goal-Attainment in Individuals with Mild to Moderate Depression

Tijdschrift:
Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 4/2016
Auteurs:
Anja Fritzsche, Björn Schlier, Gabriele Oettingen, Tania M. Lincoln
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Anja Fritzsche and Björn Schlier have contributed equally to this article.

Abstract

Depression is associated with difficulties initiating and performing goal-directed behavior. In healthy participants, the self-regulation strategy of mental contrasting with implementation intentions (MCII) has been demonstrated to facilitate goal-directed behavior. We investigated whether people with depression benefit from using MCII in attaining their goals and whether MCII attenuates symptoms of depression. Forty-seven participants with depression were randomly assigned to a MCII-condition or a waiting-control-condition. Participants in the MCII-condition performed MCII on one depression-relevant goal (e.g. social/physical activities). Goal-attainment, changes in depression, and in self-efficacy expectations after 3 weeks were measured. Significantly more participants in the MCII-condition (78.6 %) than in the waiting-control-condition (31.6 %) attained their goal. We found no significant between-group effects on depression or self-efficacy, but there was a medium pre-to-post reduction in depression in the MCII-condition and only a small effect in the control-condition. MCII is a useful strategy to facilitate goal-pursuit in depression and may be a useful adjunct to interventions aimed at behavioral activation.

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