Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Winer, Eric Samuel

Committee Member

Nadorff, Michael R.

Committee Member

McKinney, Cliff

Committee Member

Armstrong, Kevin J.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


Treatments for depression are not overly effective. Thus, aptitude-by-treatment interactions (ATIs), or interactions between particular treatments and client characteristics may be key to increasing treatment outcomes. Aptitudes of particular interest are 1) emotional and 2) etiological factors. Emotional factors related to positivity (i.e., fear of happiness, fear of positive evaluation, anticipatory anhedonia) are of practical interest due to recent increases in positivity-based treatments and of theoretical interest due to reward devaluation theory, which states that depressed individuals may be motivated to be fearful/avoidant of positivity. Etiological beliefs regarding causes of depression (i.e., physical, childhood, characterological) are of interest due to budding literature boasting the treatment benefits of matching relevant treatments to etiological beliefs. In the current study, participants were provided with four depression treatment descriptions and were asked about the personal fit, preference, and effectiveness of these treatments as well as completed an online battery of questionnaires. Emotional hypotheses supported reward devaluation theory, as individuals who were highly fearful of happiness and positivity were less interested in treatments specifically targeting positivity than other treatments, differing from the overall group preferences. Some evidence from etiological hypotheses also supported use of these beliefs in treatment planning, as individuals with childhood etiological beliefs were more interested in pastocused treatments, as well as those with characterological beliefs (after accounting for other clinical variables). Thus, incorporating emotional and etiological factors into treatment planning may allow for an enhanced discussion of why treatments in direct contrast with clients’ etiological beliefs or preferences may be the treatments that they need the most.



treatment preference||treatment matching||treatment||Depression