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Depression, trauma and mentalizing : no influence of depressive symptoms on spontaneous theory of mind in a subclinical sample

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Abstract
Background: Depressive symptoms are associated with impaired social functioning, arguably because of reduced mentalizing abilities. However, findings in persons with depressive symptoms and/or major depressive disorder (MDD) are presently mixed, finding evidence both for and against the hypothesis of reduced mentalizing abilities. Aims: This study investigated spontaneous cognitive mentalizing in 36 age-, sex- and education-matched students with depressive symptoms and 45 comparisons with minimal depressive symptoms. Method: To assess spontaneous mentalizing, we used the implicit theory of mind (ToM) task, which looks specifically at spontaneous computation of false belief. Results: Bayesian analysis did not support the hypothesis of impaired mentalizing; in fact, it suggested that the results were 3.90 times more likely to have occurred under the null hypothesis. Results remained stable when comparing depressed and non-depressed individuals without maltreatment exposure but were inconclusive in the maltreatment-exposed groups. Conclusion: The findings suggest no effect of spontaneous mentalizing in a high-functioning depressed sample. Moreover, the findings also emphasize the need to control for childhood maltreatment experiences in future ToM and social functioning research, as these may constitute subgroups within depressed samples. Tailored therapy for maltreated depression individuals may be beneficial.
Keywords
CHILDHOOD TRAUMA, PERSPECTIVE-TAKING, MAJOR DEPRESSION, SOCIAL, COGNITION, IMPAIRED THEORY, SEXUAL-ABUSE, LIFE EVENTS, COMMUNITY, DEFICITS, SCHIZOPHRENIA, Childhood maltreatment, depression, dysphoria, mentalizing, theory of, mind (ToM)

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MLA
Hudson, Anna, et al. “Depression, Trauma and Mentalizing : No Influence of Depressive Symptoms on Spontaneous Theory of Mind in a Subclinical Sample.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY, 2020, doi:10.1177/0020764020914918.
APA
Hudson, A., Orlemann, C., Van Tricht, T., Brass, M., & Müller, S. (2020). Depression, trauma and mentalizing : no influence of depressive symptoms on spontaneous theory of mind in a subclinical sample. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020764020914918
Chicago author-date
Hudson, Anna, Corinne Orlemann, Tine Van Tricht, Marcel Brass, and Sven Müller. 2020. “Depression, Trauma and Mentalizing : No Influence of Depressive Symptoms on Spontaneous Theory of Mind in a Subclinical Sample.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020764020914918.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Hudson, Anna, Corinne Orlemann, Tine Van Tricht, Marcel Brass, and Sven Müller. 2020. “Depression, Trauma and Mentalizing : No Influence of Depressive Symptoms on Spontaneous Theory of Mind in a Subclinical Sample.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY. doi:10.1177/0020764020914918.
Vancouver
1.
Hudson A, Orlemann C, Van Tricht T, Brass M, Müller S. Depression, trauma and mentalizing : no influence of depressive symptoms on spontaneous theory of mind in a subclinical sample. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY. 2020;
IEEE
[1]
A. Hudson, C. Orlemann, T. Van Tricht, M. Brass, and S. Müller, “Depression, trauma and mentalizing : no influence of depressive symptoms on spontaneous theory of mind in a subclinical sample,” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY, 2020.
@article{8665028,
  abstract     = {Background: Depressive symptoms are associated with impaired social functioning, arguably because of reduced mentalizing abilities. However, findings in persons with depressive symptoms and/or major depressive disorder (MDD) are presently mixed, finding evidence both for and against the hypothesis of reduced mentalizing abilities. Aims: This study investigated spontaneous cognitive mentalizing in 36 age-, sex- and education-matched students with depressive symptoms and 45 comparisons with minimal depressive symptoms. Method: To assess spontaneous mentalizing, we used the implicit theory of mind (ToM) task, which looks specifically at spontaneous computation of false belief. Results: Bayesian analysis did not support the hypothesis of impaired mentalizing; in fact, it suggested that the results were 3.90 times more likely to have occurred under the null hypothesis. Results remained stable when comparing depressed and non-depressed individuals without maltreatment exposure but were inconclusive in the maltreatment-exposed groups. Conclusion: The findings suggest no effect of spontaneous mentalizing in a high-functioning depressed sample. Moreover, the findings also emphasize the need to control for childhood maltreatment experiences in future ToM and social functioning research, as these may constitute subgroups within depressed samples. Tailored therapy for maltreated depression individuals may be beneficial.},
  articleno    = {0020764020914918},
  author       = {Hudson, Anna and Orlemann, Corinne and Van Tricht, Tine and Brass, Marcel and Müller, Sven},
  issn         = {0020-7640},
  journal      = {INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY},
  keywords     = {CHILDHOOD TRAUMA,PERSPECTIVE-TAKING,MAJOR DEPRESSION,SOCIAL,COGNITION,IMPAIRED THEORY,SEXUAL-ABUSE,LIFE EVENTS,COMMUNITY,DEFICITS,SCHIZOPHRENIA,Childhood maltreatment,depression,dysphoria,mentalizing,theory of,mind (ToM)},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {10},
  title        = {Depression, trauma and mentalizing : no influence of depressive symptoms on spontaneous theory of mind in a subclinical sample},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0020764020914918},
  year         = {2020},
}

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