, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 15-32

Developmental differences in cognitive diatheses for child depression

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We studied developmental changes in the relation between cognitive style (i.e., attributional style and cognitive errors) and depression in children. Subjects included 409 fourth-, sixth-, and eighth-grade school children. We hypothesized (1) that evidence congruent with a cognitive diathesis model of depression would emerge with development across middle childhood, (2) that Event × Cognitive Style × Age interactions would be specific to some domains of stressful events but not others, and (3) that interactions would be especially prominent in domains that children regarded as personally important. Hierarchical multiple regressions indicated that cognitive style moderated the relation between events and self-reported depressive symptoms only in later childhood, and that such interactions were specific to certain domains of stressful events and cognitions. The importance of distinguishing among types of stress and cognitions in future tests of diathesis-stress models of childhood depression are discussed. Implications of developmental differences in the psychopathology of child depression also emerge.