Clinical and theoretical studies in the past have given little attention to thought processes as psychological correlates of depression. A thinking disorder, in the absence of organic disease, has generally been considered a pathognomic feature of schizophrenia. Depression, on the other hand. with its florid emotional manifestations such as sadness, despair, and crying spells, has been viewed as essentially a disorder of mood.
A recent report by Beck,1 in the October issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, indicates that a disorder in thinking—less gross and more focalized than that described in schizophrenia—may be an important component of depression, and of other psychiatric syndromes as well. In a long-term study of 81 psychiatric patients, 50 depressed and 31 nondepressed, all showed some form of thinking disorder. Each patient systematically misconstrued certain types of experiences in an idiosyncratic way.
Beck's results suggest that, from mild neurosis to severe psychosis, there