High personal standards and goals can lead to achievement and self-satisfaction. However, when people set their goals too high, they are likely to fail. Failure frequently leads to depression, and depressed people often undervalue their own accomplishments. The result is chronic misery, feelings of worthlessness, lack of pur-posefulness, and pervasive depression. Bandura (1986, 1997) believes that dysfunctional depression can occur in any of the three self-regulatory subfunctions: (1) self-observation, (2) judgmental processes, and (3) self-reactions.
First, dining self-observation, people can misjudge their own performance or distort their memory of past accomplishments. Depressed people tend to exaggerate their past mistakes and minimize their prior accomplishments, a tendency that perpetuates their depression.
Second depressed people are likely to make faulty judgments. They set their standards unrealistically high so that any personal accomplishment will be judged as a failure. Even when they achieve success in the eyes of others, they continue to berate then own performance. Depression is especially likely when people set goals and personal standards much higher than their perceived efficacy to attahi them.
Finally, the self-reactions of depressed individuals are quite different from those of nondepressed persons. Depressed people not only judge themselves harshly, but they are also inclined to treat themselves badly for their shortcomings.
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