, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 227-239

Depression in adults with mild mental retardation: Are cognitive variables involved?

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The applicability of models emphasizing the role of cognitive variables in depression originally based on persons with average intellectual abilities was assessed in this study with 107 adults with mild mental retardation. Results indicated that level of depressive symptomatology, as measured by two different self-report measures, was significantly correlated with frequency of automatic negative thoughts, feelings of hopelessness, rates of self-reinforcement, and amount of negative social support. Sixteen members of this original sample, diagnosed as clinically depressed, were then compared to 16 nondepressed controls. A statistical comparison between these two samples supported the previous correlational analyses suggesting the relevance of these findings to clinical depression. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for psychopathology model building specific to adults with mental retardation, as well as the potential utility of cognitive-based therapies for a population previously considered as inappropriate.