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Introduction. Early studies on the cognitive factors affecting depression proved the prevalence of negative views of self, the world and the future and other attributional biases. More recent approaches focused on the processing of self-referential stimuli, memory (both implicit and explicit) and attentional biases. Little has been done, however, on the study of the conflictive nature of schemas involved in construing self and others.
Aim. Based on Personal Construct Theory, this work presents some evidence of the interest of studying the role of implicative dilemmas (ID) (a type of cognitive conflict). Typically, an ID is a cognitive structure for which change is desired (e.g., using a patient’ construct, moving from “being depressed” to “staying out of bad moods”) is linked to a congruent construct for which change would result in invalidation (from “concerned about others” to “selfish”).
Method. IDs were explored in a group of 41 patients. Assessment was carried out by well trained psychologists and it included careful diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder using SCID-I, and the Repertory Grid Technique (RGT). RGT was designed to explore the subjective construing of self and others of individuals, and it has been refined to identify IDs.
Results. 70.7% of patients presented with at least one ID in their grids.
Discussion. Compared to non-clinical samples (ranging from 33-53%) the prevalence of IDs in notorious. This is a first step on a line of research studying the role of IDs as cognitive factors in depression and to develop therapy methods to solve them.