Depression can usually leave many people unable to move forward. A new study shows though that there is one thing that depressed people can achieve. Depressed people could let go of unattainable goals better.
Many people have goals. Some of these goals are realistic. Many people do also have goals that could be unrealistic. People have such goals in an effort to prove that this could be achieved in the long run and as a way of showing perseverance.
Unattainable goals could also be a trap for many people, as lead author and General Psychology Professor Klaus Rothermund has said. Depressed people though could disengage from such goals more easily. This could be seen as an advantage, as it means they could then look for goals that are much easier.
For the study, Professor Rothermund together with co-author Psychology student Katharina Koppe have both depressed and healthy people do a task that involves anagrams. The participants had to solve as many anagrams as possible in a certain amount of time. Some of the anagrams though have no solution at all.
The study has found that people with depression spend less time on the anagrams that have no solution. Time spend with those that can be solved has been the same in both groups, according to the Friedrich Schiller University Jena's site. The study has shown that even in simple tasks, depressed people will spend less time on those that can't be solved than those who don't have depression.
This could also lead to a change on how people see depressed people. Generally, people think that those with depression lack motivation. The study shows that it might be that depressed people are abandoning tasks that could be difficult for them, and spending more effort on those that they can achieve more easily.
A way of helping depressed people is to see which tasks might be unattainable for them and helping them detach from it, as Science Daily reports. In that way, they could focus their efforts on tasks that they could handle more easily. This could also be used as a way of promoting personality development with them, as Professor Rothermund has said.
Depression can lead people to inaction. It might be that they are simply spending more efforts on easier goals. Depressed people could let go of unattainable goals better. A study also shows that teens and young adults approach issues in different ways.