Self regulation plays a crucial role in the stability of psychological processes. From the dynamical perspective self-regulation is manifested as the stabilization of psychological processes in the vicinity of equilibrium states - attractors of the system. Defects of self-regulation can be recast as defects of the structure of attractors. This article analyses low self-esteem and depression as defects of self-regulation, which are manifested as instability of positive states. Analysis of results revealed that low self-esteem is associated with instability of positive self relevant thought. High self esteem, in contrast, is associated with the stability of positive self-evaluation in self reflection and thus stability of attractor in positive self evaluation. A time series of over 20, monthly collected data, concerning depression in participants with bi-polar depression was analyzed with specific software to diagnose the attractor structure. The results have shown different configurations of attractors. Some individuals had the attractor in the area of low mood. In others two attractors co-exited: an attractor for positive mood and an attractor of the negative mood. Some others had no attractors, or could be characterized by the dynamics in which frequently visited states are unstable. Analysis of correlations revealed that individuals characterized by lack of stable attractors are more frequently hospitalized for depression and have higher suicidal tendencies. The results of both studies highlight the importance of self-regulation mechanisms for psychological well being.
A. Nowak, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Wydzial Psychologii, ul. Stawki 5/7, 00-183 Warszawa, Poland
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