Affective arousal associated with goal-directed thinking in Chronic Depression with Cluster C personality difficulties

Katie Rose

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

276 Downloads (Pure)


Chronic depression is associated with disruptions in cognition and affect, and
a failure to sustain goal directed behaviour (GDB). Comorbidity of depression with
Cluster C personality psychopathology is high, which may present unique complexity
when formulating and engaging such individuals in goal focused therapies. Thinking
about goals in different ways, such as focusing on either the outcome or the
processes, of goal attainment, can motivate subsequent GDB. However, there is also
an affective component that contributes to motivation to engage in GDB, namely,
anticipatory affect. Positive and negative anticipatory affect are deemed to influence
goal motivation either towards perceivably positive experience, or away from
perceivably negative outcomes respectively. Disruptions in anticipatory affect
associated with depression and Cluster C psychopathology, likely contribute to
barriers in engagement in GDB.
The present study explored whether relationships exist between mood,
personality characteristics, and anticipatory affect, when thinking about goals in
different ways. A non-clinical adult sample (N = 45) completed self-report measures
of depression, anxiety, personality and positive and negative affect, before and
immediately after thinking about their future goals in an outcome-focused and a
process-focused way. Overall, outcome thinking resulted in higher levels of positive
affect, whereas process thinking resulted in higher levels of negative affect. All
mood and personality variables were inter-correlated, however only depression
correlated negatively with positive affect, and only Cluster C personality correlated positively with negative affect at baseline. Only Cluster B related negatively to
positive affect following outcome thinking. A number of variables, including Cluster C
related to increased negative affect following process thinking. The present study
identified distinct affect response styles in individuals with scores on depression and
for those with Cluster C personality traits to be considered in the context of
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Macleod, Andy, Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Nov 2018
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018


  • Affect
  • Goals
  • Depression
  • future thinking
  • Mood
  • anticipatory
  • outcome thinking
  • process thinking

Cite this