Lewinsohn et. al. (1975) – A Behavioural Approach To Depression

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Aim: To compare the amount of positive reinforcement received by depressed and no depressed participants


·         Longitudinal case study (30 days)

·         Participants completed a self-report of pleasant activities on an events schedule.

·         Also used a self-rating of depression using the depression adjective checklist. This experiment operationalises positive behaviour as taking part in pleasant activities.

·         A quasi experiment as the independent variable was naturally occurring and not manipulated by the researchers.

Participants: 30 Participants diagnosed with depression, a disorder other than depression and normal controls.

Design: Independent design.

Procedure: Participants were asked to check their mood daily using a depression adjective chart, which had emotions such as happy, active, blue and lucky. The participants ticked one that they felt that day. Then they were asked to complete pleasant activities scale rating 320 activities such as talking about sports, meditating or doing yoga. These were rated twice on a scale of three, one time for pleasantness and the other time for frequency. This was seen as positive reinforcement.

Findings: There were significant positive correlations between mood


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