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Decentering is defined as the ability to observe one's thoughts and feelings as temporary, objective events in the mind, as opposed to reflections of the self that are necessarily true. The Experiences Questionnaire (EQ) was designed to measure both decentering and rumination but has not been empirically validated. The current study investigated the factor structure of the EQ in both undergraduate and clinical populations. A single, unifactorial decentering construct emerged using 2 undergraduate samples. The convergent and discriminant validity of this decentering factor was demonstrated in negative relationships with measures of depression symptoms, depressive rumination, experiential avoidance, and emotion regulation. Finally, the factor structure of the EQ was replicated in a clinical sample of individuals in remission from depression, and the decentering factor evidenced a negative relationship to concurrent levels of depression symptoms. Findings from this series of studies offer initial support for the EQ as a measure of decentering.
Recovered recurrently depressed patients were randomized to treatment as usual (TAU) or TAU plus mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). Replicating previous findings, MBCT reduced relapse from 78% to 36% in 55 patients with 3 or more previous episodes; but in 18 patients with only 2 (recent) episodes corresponding figures were 20% and 50%. MBCT was most effective in preventing relapses not preceded by life events. Relapses were more often associated with significant life events in the 2-episode group. This group also reported less childhood adversity and later first depression onset than the 3-or-more-episode group, suggesting that these groups represented distinct populations. MBCT is an effective and efficient way to prevent relapse/recurrence in recovered depressed patients with 3 or more previous episodes.