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Title: Dampening and amplifying cognitive appraisals in anhedonia : an investigation of which psychological mechanisms build or hinder positive affect in adolescence
Author: Yilmaz, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 1458
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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There is an increasing interest in understanding the psychological mechanisms that drive reduced positive emotion experience in depression (anhedonia). The adult literature has demonstrated that engaging with dampening appraisals during positive events (e.g. think 'this is too good last') reduces positive emotion experience (Burr, Javiad, Jell, Werner-Seidler, & Dunn, 2017; Dunn et al., 2018). Conversely, there is less evidence that the tendency to engage in amplifying appraisals during positive events (e.g. think 'this is a sign of good things to come') increases positive emotion experience. It is less well understood whether positive appraisal style also modulates positive emotion experience in young people. The present thesis investigated this question through four studies. First, a systematic review and meta-analyses were conducted which focused on the role of positive appraisal styles in relation to positive affect (PA) deficits in youth and adults. Second, a survey study examined whether trait levels of dampening and amplifying appraisal styles were cross-sectionally (n = 367) and prospectively (n = 170) associated with anhedonia symptoms in young people. Third, an experimental study (n = 89) sought to establish a causal association between induced use of dampening and amplifying appraisals, and PA during positive memory recall in young people. A final experimental study conducted at naturalistic settings with adolescent participants (n = 24) examined the impact of induced use of dampening and amplifying appraisals on PA during scheduled positive activities over four consecutive days. Findings from this PhD collectively indicated that dampening appraisal style is a potential anhedonia driving mechanism in adolescents. Future studies investigating the role of positive appraisal styles as a mediator of therapeutic change are now needed before developing interventions targeting dysfunctional positive appraisals when working with depressed adolescents.
Supervisor: Psychogiou, L. ; Dunn, B. ; Ford, T. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available