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Cognitive theories of depression in online peer support forums: Exploring the cognitive triad

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of European Psychology students
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2017


This paper explores peer communication in an online support forum for depression, through displays of Beck’s cognitive triad. Theoretical semantic thematic analysis of the textual conversations of forum users generated preliminary information on the internet as a platform for the manifestation of depressive symptoms. The study consisted of a two-phase approach. Phase one looked for demonstration of the cognitive triad in user conversations. Phase two analysed how users depicted and responded to peer cognitive distortions, and will form a separate publication. Findings suggest that the cognitive triad is evident in the online textual communication of peer support group members. The practical applications and limitations of the research are discussed in terms of recommendations for future work.

    Research areas

  • depression, cognitive theory, internet, social psychology, user behaviour, peer support

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