Objectives. The aim of the study was to explore emotion decoding skills in patients with depression.
Method. Participants in the study (N=56) were 28 inpatients with depression and 28 healthy controls. The Scale for Emotion Decoding Skills by Kulikowska & Steuden, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Mehrabian & Epstein Emotional Empathy Scale, and the Patient's Biographic Inventory by Płużek were used.
Results. No significant quantitative differences were found between depressive inpatients and healthy controls regarding their choice of terms to describe positive, negative and neutral photographs. The patients tended to overrate the emotional saturation of some positive photos, or perceived them as neutral. Healthy controls somewhat more often selected positive and neutral terms referring to self-worth, associated with positive or negative social contacts. As compared to those with a low severity of depression, patients with high depression levels significantly more often selected either positive or negative terms referring to a negative social context, their own helplessness and powerlessness, self-accusation, and guilt feelings.
Conclusions. A considerable similarity between persons suffering from depression and healthy individuals was found as regards emotion decoding. However, marked differences in decoding of emotion were noted between those with a high or low depression severity.