The current study examined cognitive avoidance in people at-risk for depression. Avoidance was assessed by performance based and self-report measures. Forty-five recovered depressed (RD) and 53 never depressed (ND) participants viewed emotional images. Approximately half of the participants in each group underwent a negative mood induction to simulate life stress. RD and ND groups did not differ in length of time that they self selected to view negative or positive images and they did not differ on subsequent recollection tasks for negative information in either mood condition. However, ND participants recalled more positive images as "most memorable" than RD participants. There were no group differences on questionnaire measures of avoidance. Findings are inconsistent with prior research showing increased attention to negative information among those at risk for depression as well as prior research showing evidence for avoidance of negative information in depression. Possible explanations for the discrepancies are discussed.
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