Research on depression requires investigation of the roles played by emotions. A study of 137 college students tested hypotheses that fear and anger, as well as sadness and guilt, are associated with the symptoms of depression, and that individuals in whom these four negative emotions tend to occur on the same days are more likely to be depressed. Measures included emotion scales completed daily for 52 days, informant-reported emotion scales, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), a new MMPI-derived Symptoms of Depression Scale (SDS) reflecting the nine diagnostic symptoms of major depression, and a modified version, the SDS-M, that omitted depressed mood and guilt items. All four emotions, as measured by self- and informant-reports, were correlated with depressive symptoms (P < 0.05). Within-subjects correlations between sadness and anger were in turn positively correlated with depressive symptoms. Theory and clinical understanding of depressive disorders can be enlarged by further investigation of the role of emotions.
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