Content was largely related to social e. This statement suggests a possible rejection of the external locus of control often associated with prayer and religion, where prayer may consist of asking for assistance from God with problems an individual is experiencing, rather than actively seeking a solution by themselves Greenwood, Within the same conversation, participant T1 explains deviancy as an effect of emotional pain.
The negative world component of the triad is present as participants make sense of the world in the context of their experience of depression. Describing depression to access truth and meaning is suggested as a way for participants to mediate the discomfort associated with holding a negative worldview. Negative future belief, defined as a pessimistic view of personal future, was displayed by eight participants in four OF conversations. Participants discussed being unable to imagine themselves free from depression in any type of situation. Both P1 and C3 appear to demonstrate a fixation on death that problematises their motivation to live.
The fatalistic talk of participants in relation to death is suggested as withdrawal behaviour in several studies. Hayes, Ward, and McGregor note that participants with less life satisfaction have a decreased desire for life in a test situation where their perceptions of death and the dying process were measured. It may therefore be suggested, that participants evidencing fatalistic talk are engaging in complex self-management of anxiety relating to death.
Theory, Research, and Treatment
The use of the internet as part of self-help and formal treatment is a valuable and growing area of research. Despite this, the author is not aware of any existing studies exploring manifestation of cognitive theories of depression in an online community setting in a sample of depressed individuals.
Observations of the cognitive triad indicate the use of the remote, peer facilitated forums by participants to express their self-reported depressive symptoms and converse with similar others in an anonymous format. In summary, the dialogue of participants within an online forum environment is richly complex, and potentially functioning as both communicative and expressive talk. This exploration of the cognitive triad within a small group of forum users highlights how an online format enables information sharing and discussion, and how cognitive theories of depression may be used to interpret this dialogue.
Online self-help forums for depression have the potential to be a positive resource for individuals, in that regular use of OF may act as a form of diary. The ability for this to allow patients to monitor their moods and concerns over the course of their depression, by looking at forum logs of their conversations, may provide further self-management benefit. Additionally, the ability to communicate with a wide range of peers in an easily controlled virtual environment may benefit those who wish to engage in activities as an adjunct to formal care, and as part of an agreed treatment program with their healthcare provider.
There are several limitations that should be considered in line with the findings of the research. No claims of generalisability are made in relation to the findings of the present study, due to use of a small sample size and cross sectional data. Additionally, all data was coded and assigned to facets of the negative triad by the first author, with consultation provided by the second author. No inter-rater reliability exercises took place, however the first author kept a reflexivity journal throughout the research.
Due to these limitations, the subjectivity of the interpretations and discussion provided in this paper is acknowledged. It is possible that a range of condition severity and comorbidities existed within the sample, with insights generated from the dataset possibly complicated by this.
Native language, proficiency with computer technology and writing ability are all accepted to affect the data and subsequent analysis. This could potentially be addressed in future research by using standardised measures of cognitive distortions, e. Finally, it is accepted that those with depressive symptoms may favour using online facilities due to the controllability and low social expectations of the environment Takahashi et al.
Potential directions for further investigation include the addition of participant interviews into the study design, allowing for the experiential nature of online communication for individuals with depression to be captured. The use of multiple forum websites to collect data may also be useful in generating a larger dataset and ensuring participant diversity. Finally, to determine the potential for online forums to benefit individuals in a clinical sample, those with a formal diagnosis of depression could potentially be recruited into studies of a pre-and post-measurement design.
Such further investigation may generate empirically based recommendations for the usage of online forums appropriate for the varying levels of severity of depression. Augoustinos, M. Baker, P. I am happy in my faith: The influence of religious affiliation, saliency, and practice on depressive symptoms and treatment preference. Barney, L. Explicit and implicit information needs of people with depression: A qualitative investigation of problems reported on an online depression support forum.
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Exploring depression: References - OpenLearn - Open University - S_P2
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Braun, V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Breuer, L. Online support groups for depression: Benefits and barriers. Briere, J. Cacioppo, J. Loneliness as a specific risk factor for depressive symptoms: Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Camara, M. Cognitive schemas predicting anxiety and depressive symptoms: The role of dysfunctional coping strategies. European Psychiatry 27 1 : 1. Chang, T. Online counseling: Prioritizing psychoeducation, self-help, and mutual help for counseling psychology research and practice.
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