Intrusion-based reasoning and depression: cross-sectional and prospective relationships

David Berle, Michelle L. Moulds*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Intrusion-based reasoning refers to the tendency to form interpretations about oneself or a situation based on the occurrence of a negative intrusive autobiographical memory. Intrusion-based reasoning characterises post-traumatic stress disorder, but has not yet been investigated in depression. We report two studies that aimed to investigate this. In Study 1 both high (n = 42) and low (n = 28) dysphoric participants demonstrated intrusion-based reasoning. High-dysphoric individuals engaged in self-referent intrusion-based reasoning to a greater extent than did low-dysphoric participants. In Study 2 there were no significant differences in intrusion-based reasoning between currently depressed (n = 27) and non-depressed (n = 51) participants, and intrusion-based reasoning did not predict depressive symptoms at 6-month follow-up. Interestingly, previously (n = 26) but not currently (n = 27) depressed participants engaged in intrusion-based reasoning to a greater extent than never-depressed participants (n = 25), indicating the possibility that intrusion-based reasoning may serve as a scar from previous episodes. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-783
Number of pages14
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • mental intrusions
  • depression
  • intrusion-based reasoning
  • autobiographical memory
  • remission


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