, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 633-649

Explanatory Style as a Risk Factor for Traumatic Mishaps

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Six studies investigated a possible link between hopeless explanatory style—that is, the habitual explanation of bad events with stable and global causes—and risk for traumatic injuries. In samples of college students, dancers, athletes, and trauma patients (total n = 2274), stable and global explanations for bad events correlated with the occurrence of mishaps. The link appeared to be mediated in part by a preference for potentially hazardous settings and activities in response to negative moods associated with hopelessness. Taken together, these findings suggest that catastrophizing individuals may be motivated to escape negative moods by preferring exciting but risky courses of action.