Investigating the effect of a visual representation of the self-image on COMET inspired therapy for depression: Testing the validity of reverse correlation as a measure for self-image and investigating the clinical implications of this method
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Depression is one of the most common mental health issues, affecting both individuals and society as a whole. This paper is focused on methods that could possibly contribute to improving self-image, which in turn would lower depressive symptoms. The first part of the study is focused on creating an illustration of participant’s self-image, using the technique reverse correlation, and on whether people can recognize themselves in the classification images (CI) that were generated after the reverse correlation task. The second part of the study investigates the usability of this image as a tool for therapy. We consider whether the CI intervention can be used as an independent treatment, and in particular its effectiveness in combination with an intervention based on the existing COMET therapy. 98 participants were recruited for the first part of our study. Our hypothesis that people would be able to recognize themselves on the first trial above chance level was supported by a chi-square test for goodness of fit, with an effect size of w = .702. The hypotheses of the second part, which entailed that using a classification image and/or COMET therapy would reduce depressive symptoms, was not supported by the results. An explorative analysis was done to investigate differences between healthy participants and those with depressive symptoms. There was a significant main effect for time and for depressive symptoms. There was also a significant interaction effect for time and depressive symptoms and for time and experimental group. Further t-tests did not reveal anything to explain the significance.