Reminiscing can make you less likely to suffer depression in the future

Posted on April 30, 2016

Deakin University’s David Hallford and David Mellor conducted a study where participants rated their levels of depression symptoms and they reflected on the past week, reporting how much they had thought or talked about their personal history during that time, and whether they had done it to achieve either of two specific goals: to help define who they are today – the identity function of reminiscence – or to remind themselves that they have the skills or character to deal with present challenges, which is the problem-solving function.

The study found that reminiscing does not have an effect on depression instantly or in the same week, but it was associated with less depression one week later. So you’re not necessarily in a better state during periods when you are being reflective, but reminiscing now is likely to protect you against depression in the future.

The authors say that the effect of reminiscence on depression is not direct, rather, reminiscence affected a set of positive psychological resources: self esteem, confidence in own ability, optimism and meaning in life. And where these resources were enhanced, depression dropped.

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Source material from Research Digest

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