Health Good goal choice a key to treating depression

Good goal choice a key to treating depression

Helping people with clinical depression set positive, achievable goals could improve their treatment, a new study has found.

Psychology researchers from Edith Cowan University analysed the link between clinical depression and how people experiencing the condition set and pursue personal goals.

Lead author Associate Professor Joanne Dickson said the study found that people experiencing depression were not less motivated than those without depression.

“However the group with depression were more pessimistic about achieving their goals and had more difficulty generating goals focused on positive outcomes,” she said.

“They were also more likely to give up on goals they saw as unattainable and reported greater difficulty in setting new goals to pursue.”

Personal goals are integral to many therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Behaviour Activation Therapy used to treat depression.

“If we can develop better ways to help people with depression set goals that are achievable and focused on positive outcomes, and assist them in identifying ways to achieve their goals, it is likely to enhance a sense of well-being.” Associate Professor Dickson said.

“Building confidence and self-belief around goal pursuit may also provide a useful strategy in preventing the onset of depression.”

The research was conducted with colleagues at the University of Exeter and University of Liverpool.

You can read more about the research team’s findings here. Story credit: Edith Cowan University newsroom.

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