Moods in Clinical Depression Are More Unstable than Severe Normal Sadness

Rudy Bowen, Evyn Peters, Steven Marwaha, Marilyn Baetz, Lloyd Balbuena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
186 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Current descriptions in psychiatry and psychology suggest that depressed mood in clinical depression is similar to mild sadness experienced in everyday life, but more intense and persistent. We evaluated this concept using measures of average mood and mood instability (MI).

METHOD: We prospectively measured low and high moods using separate visual analog scales twice a day for seven consecutive days in 137 participants from four published studies. Participants were divided into a non-depressed group with a Beck Depression Inventory score of ≤10 (n = 59) and a depressed group with a Beck Depression Inventory score of ≥18 (n = 78). MI was determined by the mean square successive difference statistic.

RESULTS: Mean low and high moods were not correlated in the non-depressed group but were strongly positively correlated in the depressed group. This difference between correlations was significant. Low MI and high MI were weakly positively correlated in the non-depressed group and strongly positively correlated in the depressed group. This difference in correlations was also significant.

CONCLUSION: The results show that low and high moods, and low and high MI, are highly correlated in people with depression compared with those who are not depressed. Current psychiatric practice does not assess or treat MI or brief high mood episodes in patients with depression. New models of mood that also focus on MI will need to be developed to address the pattern of mood disturbance in people with depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number56
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2017

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