Motivations to Experience Happiness or Sadness in Depression: Temporal Stability and Implications for Coping With Stress

Yael Millgram*, Jutta Joormann, Jonathan D. Huppert, Avital Lampert, Maya Tamir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Difficulties with emotion regulation in depression may be linked not only to emotion regulation strategies but also to the motivation to experience certain emotions. We assessed the degree of motivation to experience happiness or sadness in major depressive disorders outside the laboratory and prospective links to clinical outcomes over time. Depressed individuals were consistently less motivated to experience happiness and more motivated to experience sadness than nondepressed individuals. The less motivated participants were to experience happiness, the less they tried to upregulate happiness in an emotion regulation task and downregulate negative emotions during real-life stress. Importantly, the less motivated depressed participants were to experience happiness, the more clinical symptoms they exhibited months later during a stressful period, even after controlling for initial levels of symptoms. These findings demonstrate that individual differences in the degree of motivation to experience happiness in depression may carry clinical implications.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)143-161
Number of pages19
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 934/15).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.

Keywords

  • depression
  • emotion regulation
  • happiness
  • motivation
  • open materials
  • sadness
  • stress

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