Depression, guilt, and self-management of pleasant and unpleasant events. Academic Article uri icon


  • The relation of subjects' depression and guilt to their choice to delay unpleasant and pleasant events was examined. Ninety-one college students chose to receive punishments and gratifications immediately or a week later. Depression, primarily in males, was related to a present orientation rather than a future orientation, namely, the choice of delayed punishments over immediate punishments and of immediate small rewards over large delayed rewards. This result supported the hypothesis that depressed individuals will attempt to correct a current aversive state rather than maximize long-term gains. High guilt in males was related to the choice of immediate punishment. The results are consistent with the view that behavior choices are determined in part by anticipated internal affective consequences.

publication date

  • October 1, 1983