J Caring Sci. 2020;9(4): 195-202.
doi: 10.34172/jcs.2020.030
  Abstract View: 116
  PDF Download: 90

Original Research

Behavioral Activation Therapy on Reward Seeking Behaviors in Depressed People: An Experimental study

Alireza Karimpour-Vazifehkhorani 1 ORCID logo, Abbas Bakhshipour Rudsari 1 ORCID logo, Akram Rezvanizadeh 2 ORCID logo, Leila Kehtary- Harzang 1 ORCID logo, Kamyar Hasanzadeh 3* ORCID logo

1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran
2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran
3 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Urmia, Urmia, Iran


Introduction: Behavioral activation therapy (BAT) is designed to help individuals’ approach and
access sources of positive reinforcement in their life, which can serve a natural antidepressant
function and efforts to help depressed people reengage in their life through focused activation
Methods: In this study, 60 individuals were selected and randomly assigned to intervention
and control groups. The intervention group received behavioral activation treatment, including
eight treatment sessions and 5 weeks later, a follow-up study was conducted. The data were
collected, using a Beck Depression Inventory-II and behavioral activation system (BIS)/
behavioral inhibition system (BAS) Carver and White questionnaires, before the intervention and
after the intervention and five weeks after the intervention. SPSS 23 and analysis of covariance
(ANCOVA) was used for data analysis.
Results: Results showed a significant increase in the two components of the BAS including
reward seeking and response to reward in the intervention group, which indicates an increase
in positive affect and appetitive motivation for reward seeking and decreases the risk of
depression. Also, the results showed a significant decrease in the BIS and depression in the
intervention group, which indicates a decline in experiencing negative emotions.
Conclusion: The implementation of BAT will cause depressed people to try to maximize future
rewards and it’s effective in improving the reward seeking and reward response in depressed
people because this treatment will increase the positive reinforcement and lead to learning cues
that predict possible rewards in environments.
Keywords: Behavior therapy, Reward, Reinforcement, Psychology, Depression
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Submitted: 19 Jun 2019
Revision: 01 Sep 2019
Accepted: 20 Sep 2019
ePublished: 24 Nov 2020
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