#270 – Self-Critical Depression

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psm 292 Self-Critical Depression

Based on research by Ehret, Anna M., Joormann, Jutta, & Berking, Matthias (2015) written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.

Are you consistently critical of yourself? Do you give yourself little credit or compassion? Although it may seem like you are being humble or perfectionistic, this mindset can put you at risk for developing depression. Depression, one of the most common mental health problems, impacts more than 16 million people/year in the U.S.1

German Psychologists surveyed patients diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, depressed patients who sought and successfully completed treatment, and persons never depressed. Researchers compared the participants’ symptoms and thoughts regarding their outlook on life.

Those who had never had depression had lower scores in self-criticism and higher scores in self-compassion compared with depressed individuals or those in remission. The depressed and patients in remission had higher perfectionistic beliefs as well as constantly reviewed their shortcomings and stressors, and less easily forgave or reassured themselves. Thus, being critical and unforgiving of oneself sets us up for risk of future depression.

Friend, give yourself a break. Stop being so hard on yourself. Give yourself credit for what you accomplish and your positive qualities. Remember be compassionate towards yourself. Your mental health and well-being depends on it.



Ehret, A. M., Joormann, J., & Berking, M. (2015). Examining risk and resilience factors for depression: The role of self-criticism and self- compassion. Cognition and Emotion29(8), 1496-1504. 

1National Institutes of Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml

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