Análisis de contenido de constructos personales en la depresión

Salud mental, ISSN 0185-3325, Vol. 32, Nº. 5, 2009, pags. 371-380
Source: OAI


SUMMARY Kelly's Personal Construct Psychology (PCP) proposes that attributing meaning to experience is the most fundamental process of human psychological functioning. He describes psychological activity as a continuous process of creating, testing and revising personal theories (usually implicit) that allow people to understand and anticipate events. Personal constructs are the basic units of these personal theories. Constructs are bipolar contrasts of meaning that form an evolving network through which psychological processes are canalized. This system provides with a limited number of alternative views for explaining, anticipating and participating in life. One of the most significant contributions to psychological research made by PCP concerns the possibility to develop tools for the study of subjective construing. The Role Construct Repertory Grid (RepGrid) has been extensively used to explore the view subjects have of themselves, others and their problems. This technique elicits a sample of verbal descriptions of contrasting alternatives, his or her personal constructs; and provides several measures of self construing (e.g., self-esteem) and systems organization (e.g., complexity). Several authors point out the utility and pertinence of exploring the construct system in the evaluation of depressive disorders. They show the interest of studying the construct systems of depressive patients in order to measure some aspects that symptom and standard cognitive measures of cognitive distortions do not take into account. Depressive mood is highly influenced by the subject's view of him or herself and others, and by the organization of his or her constructs. However, the content of these personal constructs has received far less attention from researchers. The main goal of this article is to complement the PCP model of depression through the content analysis of personal constructs. In contrast with traditional content analysis, we do not evaluate the valency of the content but the principal meaning dimensions through which depressive people describe their interpersonal experience. According to PCP and other cognitive approaches, we hypothesize that the contents of the construct systems in the depressive sample are different from those of the control group. Specifically, we believe that the depressive group will show a higher number of constructs related to emotions and morality. The present study was carried out with 53 patients seeking psychological treatment in various private clinics in Barcelona who met DSM-IV criteria for depressive unipolar disorders. The non-clinical comparison group (n= 53), paired by sex and age with the clinical one, included volunteers recruited by graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Barcelona as part of their practical experience with the RepGrid, after receiving specific training in its administration. To compare the pattern of the construct system of both groups, we categorized the content of the personal constructs elicited with the RepGrid using the Classification System for Personal Constructs (SCCP) developed by Feixas et al. The SCCP is composed of six thematic areas (moral, emotional, relational, personal, intellectual, and values/interests) broken down into 45 different categories. Inter-rater agreement was used to determine the reliability of the SCCP. The results were very satisfactory regarding the percentage of agreement between judges. Cohens Kappa coefficient confirmed the high level of reliability of the SCCP, which was higher than that obtained in previous studies.

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