, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 201-217

Automatic Thoughts and Psychological Symptoms: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of American and Spanish Students

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This study examined the structure of automatic thoughts and relations between automatic thoughts and psychological symptoms from a cross-cultural perspective. Spanish university students (N = 437) and American university students (N = 349) completed the Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire-Revised (ATQ-R) and the Young Adult Self-Report. Results supported a hierarchical arrangement of cognitions in which four first-order categories of self-talk (Dissatisfaction, Negative Self-Concept, Inability to Cope, and Positive Thoughts) were encompassed by two broad factors of Positive and Negative Self-Talk. The pattern of associations between automatic thoughts and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and externalizing problems supported both the cognitive content-specificity theory and the tripartite model of anxiety and depression. Multiple group covariance structure analysis showed that the structure of the ATQ-R and relations between the ATQ-R and symptoms were comparable in both groups, suggesting that the nature of automatic thoughts is similar across Western cultures.