Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 623–634

Stress and attributional style as predictors of self-reported depression in children

  • J. Faye Dixon
  • Anthony H. Ahrens

DOI: 10.1007/BF01175403

Cite this article as:
Dixon, J.F. & Ahrens, A.H. Cogn Ther Res (1992) 16: 623. doi:10.1007/BF01175403


Attributional approaches to depression, such as hopelessness theory (Abramson, Metalsky, & Alloy, 1989), suggest that a stable, global attributional style for negative events combined with failure to achieve a highly valued outcome will lead to depression. The current study assessed the ability of the interaction of attributional style and daily negative events to predict self-reported depression in children. Eighty-four children between the ages of 9 and 12 participated in this longitudinal study. Self-reported depression symptoms were assessed before and after exposure to stressful events. The data analysis consisted of stepwise hierarchical multiple-regression procedures. While attributional style alone did not predict change in self-reported depression symptoms following stressful events, the interaction of attributional style with stress did predict them. Stress predicted depression symptoms as well.

Key words

depression attributional style childhood depression 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Faye Dixon
    • 1
  • Anthony H. Ahrens
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryMedical College of Pennsylvania/Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric InstitutePhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe American UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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