The present study investigated the relation of self-preoccupation, i.e., the tendency to focus more on the self than on external objects and to maintain this self-focused attention, with the duration and severity of depressive episodes. The hypotheses were that, compared with people low on self-preoccupation, people scoring higher on self-preoccupation may experience more long-lasting depressive episodes and during such episodes they may experience a greater number of depressive symptoms. The present study examined association of self-esteem with the severity of duration of depressive episodes. A total of 1,076 undergraduates (361 men, 700 women, 15 unknown) from nine universities in the Tokyo metropolitan area participated. Of the total, 246 undergraduates (55 men and 191 women) reported that they had experienced a depressive episode continuing four or more days; these data were analyzed and are reported here. Self-preoccupation, self-esteem, and depressive episodes within 12 mo. were measured by a self-report questionnaire. The results tentatively supported the hypotheses. Specifically, rated self-esteem was significantly correlated with the number of depressive symptoms reported in a depressive episode but not with the duration of the episode. However, rated self-preoccupation was correlated with the severity and duration of the depressive episode, although the correlation of self-preoccupation scale scores with the duration of the episode was quite weak and requires further research.
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