Everyone feels down from time to time. Most people try and get over it in a process that psychologists call 'mood repair.' Psychologists have identified over a 100 strategies for mood repair (adaptive strategies) but also a number of responses that actually end up making things worse (maladaptive strategies). It is thought that people with depression are worse at mood repair than other people and use less productive strategies to get over feeling down. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh looked into this issue in a study of 337 people, 215 of whom had suffered from childhood-onset depressive disorder. Participants were asked which strategies they used to deal with low mood and were followed over time to see how they got on. The study found that people who had previously been depressed or who were depressed at the time of the study both reported a greater number of maladaptive responses and less adaptive ones, although they did use some adaptive strategies. Using maladaptive responses predicted future increases in depression symptoms and an increased probability of a recurrence of depression and this was true of both maladaptive thoughts and actions.
Kovacs, M., Rottenberg, J. and George, C. - Maladaptive mood repair responses distinguish young adults with early-onset depressive disorders and predict future depression outcomes Psychological Medicine November 2009, 39(11), 1841-1854