Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Depression in child psychiatric inpatients: Cognitive and attributional patterns

  • 119 Accesses

  • 80 Citations

Abstract

Cognitive and learned helplessness models of depression view maladaptive cognitive and attributional patterns as core features of depressive disorders. This study examined cognitive and attributional patterns in depressed children, nondepressed children, and a subgroup of remitting depressives who had histories of depression but were not reporting depressive symptoms when evaluated during the first 2 weeks of hospitalization. When compared with nondepressed controls, depressed children reported significantly more hopelessness, more negative self-perceptions, and negative self-perceptions across a wider variety of domains, and they displayed more dysfunctional attributional styles. While 55% of depressed children displayed pervasive maladaptive cognitive patterns, the other 45% of depressed children scored more similarly to nondepressed children, suggesting that childhood depressive disorders may be heterogeneous with respect to cognitive patterns. Contrary to the notion of traitlike depressive cognitive and attributional patterns that persist after the remission of depressive episodes, children with remitting depressions scored similarly to nondepressed children.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1980).Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Washington, DC: Author.

  2. Asarnow, J. R. (1988). Peer status and social competence in child psychiatric inpatients: A comparison of children with depressive, externalizing, and concurrent depressive and externalizing disorders.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 16, 151–162.

  3. Asarnow, J. R., & Carlson, G. A. (1985). The Depression Self-Rating Scale: Utility with child psychiatric inpatients.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 491–499.

  4. Asarnow, J. R., Carlson, G. A., & Guthrie, D. (1987). Coping strategies, self-perceptions, hopelessness, and perceived family environments in depressed and suicidal children.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 361–366.

  5. Birleson, P. (1981). The validity of depressive disorder in childhood and the development of a self-rating scale: A research report.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 22, 73–88.

  6. Eaves, G., & Rush, A. J. (1984). Cognitive patterns in symptomatic and remitted unipolar major depression.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93, 31–40.

  7. Gotlib, I. H. (1984). Depression and general psychopathology in university students.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93, 19–30.

  8. Hamilton, E., & Abramson, L. (1983). Cognitive patterns and major depressive disorder: A longitudinal study in a hospital setting.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 92, 173–184.

  9. Hammen, C., Miklowitz, D., & Dyck, D. (1986). Stability and severity parameters of depressive self-schema responding.Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 4, 23–45.

  10. Harter, S. (1985).Manual for the self-perception profile for children. Unpublished manuscript. University of Denver.

  11. Hollon, S. D., Kendall, P. C., & Lumry, A. (1986). Specificity of depressotypic cognitions in clinical depression.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 52–59.

  12. Kaslow, N. J., Rehm, L. P., & Siegel, A. W. (1984). Social and cognitive correlates of depression in children: A developmental perspective.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 12, 605–620.

  13. Kazdin, A. E. (1987). Children's Depression Scale: Validation with child psychiatric inpatients.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 28, 29–42.

  14. Kazdin, A. E., Colbus, D., & Rodgers, A. (1986). Assessment of depression and diagnosis of depressive disorder among psychiatrically disturbed children.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 14, 499–516.

  15. Kazdin, A. E., French, N. H., Unis, A. S., Esveldt-Dawson, K., & Sherick, R. B. (1983). Hopelessness, depression, and suicidal intent among psychiatrically disturbed inpatient children.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51, 504–510.

  16. Kazdin, A. E., Rodgers, A., & Colbus, D. (1986). The Hopelessness Scale for Children: Psychometric characteristics and concurrent validity.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 241–245.

  17. Lefkowitz, M. M., & Tesiny, E. P. (1980). Assessment of childhood depression.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 48, 43–50.

  18. Lewinsohn, P. M., Steinmetz, J., Larson, D., & Franklin, J. (1981). Depression related cognitions: Antecedent or consequence.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 90, 213–219.

  19. Rutter, M. (1986). The developmental psychopathology of depression: Issues and perspectives. In M. Rutter, C. E. Izard, & P. E. Read (Eds.),Depression in young people (pp. 3–30). New York: Guilford Press.

  20. Saylor, C. F., Finch, A. J., Spirito, A., & Bennett, B. (1984). The Children's Depression Inventory: A systematic evaluation of psychometric properties.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 52, 955–967.

  21. Seligman, M. E. P., Kaslow, N. J., Alloy, L. B., Peterson, C., Tanenbaum, R. L., & Abramson, L. Y. (1984). Attributional style and depressive symptoms among children.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93, 235–238.

  22. Weissman, M. M., Wickramaratne, P., Warner, V., John, K., Prusoff, B. A., Merikangas, K. R., & Gammon, G. D. (1987). Assessing psychiatric disorders in children.Archives of General Psychiatry, 44, 747–753.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Joan Rosenbaum Asarnow.

Additional information

Partial support for this project was provided by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of their Network on Risk and Protective Factors in the Major Mental Disorders. I wish to thank Donald Guthrie for providing statistical consultation, Gwen Gordon for her computer assistance, and Niels Mueller and Jean Keller for their help with data collection.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Asarnow, J.R., Bates, S. Depression in child psychiatric inpatients: Cognitive and attributional patterns. J Abnorm Child Psychol 16, 601–615 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00913472

Download citation

Keywords

  • Depressive Symptom
  • Depressive Disorder
  • Depressive Episode
  • Core Feature
  • Psychiatric Inpatient