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Depressive Realism

Definition

Depressive realism refers to the findings that depressed individuals tend to be more accurate or realistic than nondepressed persons in their judgments about themselves. Specifically, research suggests that nondepressed people are vulnerable to cognitive illusions, including unrealistic optimism, overestimation of themselves, and an exaggerated sense of their capacity to control events. This same research indicates that depressed people's judgments about themselves are often less biased.

Context and Importance

Depressive realism is provocative for two reasons. First, it contradicts both the intuitions of common sense and the mental health profession's assumption that mental health should be associated with a high capacity to perceive and test reality. Second, depressive realism also presents a serious challenge to cognitive theories of depression, which have become increasingly important over the past 30 ...

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