, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 601-615

Depression in child psychiatric inpatients: Cognitive and attributional patterns

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Cognitive and learned helplessness models of depression view maladaptive cognitive and attributional patterns as core features of depressive disorders. This study examined cognitive and attributional patterns in depressed children, nondepressed children, and a subgroup of remitting depressives who had histories of depression but were not reporting depressive symptoms when evaluated during the first 2 weeks of hospitalization. When compared with nondepressed controls, depressed children reported significantly more hopelessness, more negative self-perceptions, and negative self-perceptions across a wider variety of domains, and they displayed more dysfunctional attributional styles. While 55% of depressed children displayed pervasive maladaptive cognitive patterns, the other 45% of depressed children scored more similarly to nondepressed children, suggesting that childhood depressive disorders may be heterogeneous with respect to cognitive patterns. Contrary to the notion of traitlike depressive cognitive and attributional patterns that persist after the remission of depressive episodes, children with remitting depressions scored similarly to nondepressed children.