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How are Cognitive Therapy skills used (or not used) years after treatment? Subjective and physiological measures

Paul, Benjamin Sajowitz (2011) How are Cognitive Therapy skills used (or not used) years after treatment? Subjective and physiological measures. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Theorists have proposed that core Cognitive Therapy skills, such as reappraising negative thoughts, are useful not only for recovering from depression but also for staying well years after recovery. However, surprisingly little empirical work has tested (1) whether CT skills are used years after therapy, (2) whether continued CT skill use is associated with mood benefits, and (3) whether continued CT skill use involves significant effort and emotional engagement. To address these issues, we measured frequency of CT skill use in former CT patients, and we tested the association between CT skill use and adaptive mood outcomes as well as the association between CT skill use and engagement with dysfunctional thoughts, as indexed via pupil dilation.Twenty-two formerly depressed individuals aged 24-70 who responded to research-protocol CT 2-6 years ago completed the Skills of Cognitive Therapy - Patient (SoCT-P) self-report measure and underwent two experimental blocks in which a sad mood induction was provided and then pupil dilation was measured during self-paced presentation of self-relevant dysfunctional statements. During the first block, participants were asked to cope however they normally would, while in the second block, participants were asked to reappraise each statement. We examined (1) mean SoCT-P, (2) correlations between SoCT-P and adaptive mood outcomes (lack of cognitive reactivity and transience of induced sadness), and (3) the correlation between SoCT-P and pupil dilation in response to dysfunctional statements.Results indicated that, on average, participants reported using CT skills between "half" and "most" of the time. SoCT-P was non-significantly associated with adaptive mood outcomes, with moderate effect sizes. In the first block, SoCT-P was negatively correlated with pupil dilation during the period immediately before and after presentation of each statement.This study provides the first evidence that CT skills are still used years after therapy. More power is needed to test whether continued CT skill use is associated with positive mood outcomes, although results were in the predicted direction. Finally, as CT skill use was negatively correlated with an index of cognitive and emotional load, results may argue against the notion that continued CT skill use involves deployment of effortful compensatory strategies.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Paul, Benjamin
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSiegle, Greg J.gsiegle@pitt.eduGSIEGLE
Committee MemberKoffmann, Andrewkoffmann@pitt.eduKOFFMANN
Committee MemberRoecklein, Kathryn A.kroeck@pitt.eduKROECK
Committee MemberKamarck, Thomas W.tkam@pitt.eduTKAM
Date: 14 September 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 7 July 2011
Approval Date: 14 September 2011
Submission Date: 16 August 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: depression vulnerability; Major Depressive Disorder; mood induction; pupil dilation; Cognitive Therapy; depression
Other ID:, etd-08162011-003017
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:59
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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