, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 105-122

Fear of Criticism and Rejection Mediates an Association Between Childhood Emotional Abuse and Adult Onset of Major Depression

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The current study examines whether a particular negative cognitive style, Fear of Criticism and Rejection, a subscale of Sociotropy, mediates an association between perceived childhood emotional abuse and adult onset of major depression. The study was motivated by Rose and Abramson's theory that childhood emotional abuse may be particularly relevant to the development of adult cognitive risk for depression. The case–control sample used in the study (N = 50) was drawn from a larger case–control study examining adult cognitive styles and major depression. Childhood emotional abuse was assessed from retrospective reports using a structured interview. Consistent with expectations, Fear of Criticism and Rejection mediated an association between perceived childhood emotional abuse and major depression in adulthood.