Elaborative processing biases associated with vulnerability and maintenance of depression : evidence across levels of analysis
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Major depressive disorder (MDD) will soon represent the most costly and debilitating disorder in the world. Yet, a clear model of the mechanisms underlying MDD remains elusive. This lack of clarity obscures efforts to prevent and treat MDD more effectively. This dissertation seeks to advance an integrated model of the mechanisms underlying MDD across cognitive, neural, and genetic levels of analysis. Building on the empirical foundation of cognitive theories of MDD, the dissertation includes three studies that help address questions about the cognitive mechanisms underlying depression vulnerability and maintenance. Specifically, the three studies focus on identifying 1) how elaborative processing biases, including attentional biases and rumination, give rise to specific symptoms of MDD and 2) elucidating biological mechanisms that may give rise to these biases. Together, these studies help advance an integrated model of MDD that, ultimately, may help facilitate the prevention and treatment of this costly and debilitating disorder.