I am in the thick of secondary dissertation research. We have a initial ten or so pages due on Friday, which I have just started writing because I am a very organised person. Yes.
I found a new article yesterday that was a research report into a sociological study (very well set up) that was initiated to determine what the actual deficit in ability to give informed consent was for persons hospitalised for mental disorder. I'm not going to go into the results just now because I want to keep this brief but in reading the study I found out something new to me that apparently is common to depressed persons. That is, a distinct deficit in capacity to make decisions successfully. As I was reading their description of what this meant, I did absolutely recognise myself.
According to the study, depressed persons typically were less able to communicate a decision and once a decision had been communicated, they were much more likely to experience distress or regret - often on the presumption that the decision must have been the wrong one. I do this all the time. I had assumed that it was just a part of my character - I still tend largely to think it is - but it is interesting to see that it is a characteristic correlated with depression. I know that it gets worse when I'm depressed but as almost everything seems to get worse when I'm depressed I didn't think of it as having any special relation.
This has, of course, started me wondering whether a diminished capacity to make and communicate decisions is also a reverse predictor. That is, if depression predicts a diminished capacity to make and communicate decisions, does a diminished capacity to make and communicate decisions predict depression? Obviously, that couldn't ever be a single predictor of depression - I can think of other things it might predict - but I wonder whether it might constitute another way to confirm or disconfirm a diagnosis of depression or perhaps be a good indicator of severity.
What do you all think? Does this reflect your experience? Had you heard about it before?