Description: This study investigated the relationship between the depressive attributional style described by Beck and Seligman and elevation of mood. It was proposed that mood elevation would reduce the level of depression and, in addition, would reduce the number of negative attributions. The reduction of negative attributions was assumed to be a more cognitively mediated process and was proposed to occur subsequent to mood change. These assumptions are contrary to the current cognitive theories of depression and attribution which view attributional style as a prerequisite to both the development and reduction of depression. Subjects were 30 undergraduate students between the ages of 19 and 40 years old who volunteered to participate in the study. They were screened on the basis of demonstrated depression (13 and above on the Beck Inventory) and susceptibility to hypnosis (high susceptibility on the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility) . Subjects were randcmly assigned to one of three groups; (1) hypnosis with mood elevation, (2) hypnosis with relaxation, and (3) no treatment control. The results supported the hypothesis that mood elevation would reduce level of depression. The mood elevation group demonstrated a lowering of depression. The effects of the treatment procedure did not appear until the fourth session. As anticipated, reduction in negative attributions did not precede or coincide with reduction in depression. It was not possible to determine the change in the attributional style of subject during the time period of this study. The results were discussed in terms of Bower's Associative Network Theory in which activation of mood facilitates the access to memories, behaviors, and interpretation of events which are congruent with the mood state.
Date: August 1985
Creator: Swenson, Carol