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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 397076, 6 pages
Research Article

Illness Attitudes Associated with Seasonal Depressive Symptoms: An Examination Using a Newly Developed Implicit Measure

Department of Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL 60616, USA

Received 24 June 2015; Accepted 24 November 2015

Academic Editor: Wai-Kwong Tang

Copyright © 2015 Katherine Meyers and Michael A. Young. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Dual Vulnerability Model of seasonal depression posits that seasonal vegetative symptoms are due to a physiological vulnerability, but cognitive and mood symptoms are the result of negative appraisal of vegetative changes. In addition, rumination may be associated with stronger negative attitudes toward vegetative symptoms. This is the first study to examine implicit attitudes toward vegetative symptoms. We hypothesized that illness attitudes about fatigue moderate the relationship between the severity of vegetative symptoms and the severity of cognitive symptoms and that the illness attitudes are associated with rumination. This study also developed an implicit method to assess the appraisal of fatigue as indicating illness. Results supported both hypotheses. Illness attitudes toward fatigue moderated the relationship between vegetative symptoms and cognitive symptoms. Ruminative response style was positively associated with implicit illness attitudes towards fatigue. The study provides support for the role of negative appraisals of vegetative symptoms in the development of cognitive and mood seasonal depressive symptoms.