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Three potential emotional causes of depressive symptoms – negative emotionality, hyper-emotionality and hypo-emotionality: a preliminary study
  • Bruce G. Charlton,
  • Joseph Shaw
Bruce G. Charlton
School of Psychology, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU, England

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Joseph Shaw
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The broad diagnostic category of DSM Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is heterogeneous, and we suggest that it can be subdivided into at least three groups: those with Negative-emotionality who experience strong negative emotionality such as misery, anxiety, guilt, fatigue etc; Hyper-emotionality who experience strong emotions in both negative and positive directions; and Hypo-emotionality who experience weak or blunted emotions. This model was tested using an internet survey of 251 subjects that measured strength of depressive symptoms; and strength and directionality of emotions. All three emotionality groups were significantly more depressed than controls. This indicates that depressive symptoms may be a consequence of at least three different emotional patterns. One implication may be that different emotionality sub-types could benefit from different treatments.