Affectivity and narrativity in depression: a phenomenological study

Anna Bortolan* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this study I explore from a phenomenological perspective the relationship between affectivity and narrative self-understanding in depression. Phenomenological accounts often conceive of the disorder as involving disturbances of the narrative self and suggest that these disturbances are related to the alterations of emotions and moods typical of the illness. In this paper I expand these accounts by advancing two sets of claims. In the first place, I suggest that, due to the loss of feeling characteristic of the illness, the narratives with which the patients identified prior to the onset of depression are altered in various ways, thus leading to the weakening or abandonment of the narratives themselves. I then move to show that these autobiographical narratives are replaced by new stories which possess a distinctive structure and I argue that this is dependent upon specific configurations of affective experience, such as existential feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and isolation, and particular forms of temporal and spatial experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-88
Number of pages11
JournalMedicine, Health Care and Philosophy
Early online date27 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • phenomenology
  • depression
  • narrative
  • emotions
  • feelings


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