Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 289–308

Automatic cognitions and the symptoms of depression and anxiety in children and adolescents: An examination of the content specificity hypothesis

  • Belinda Ambrose
  • William S. Rholes

DOI: 10.1007/BF01172951

Cite this article as:
Ambrose, B. & Rholes, W.S. Cogn Ther Res (1993) 17: 289. doi:10.1007/BF01172951


Beck and his collegues have hypothesized that the symptoms of anxiety and depression have distinct cognitive correlates. They hypothesized that depression is associated with cognitions concerning loss and deprivation, whereas anxiety is associated with cognitions concerning threat and danger. In the present work, we suggest a modification of this hypothesis. We hypothesize that the impact of threat and loss congitions varies as a function of severity: specificially, that very high levels of threat influence symptomatology as loss cognitions typically do and that low levels of loss have effects similar to those of threat cognitions. Threat and loss cognitions and symptoms of depression and anxiety were assessed in a nonclinical sample of young persons and analyzed through regression techniques. The results of these analyses provide support for the hypotheses.

Key words

depression anxiety cognitions specificity 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Belinda Ambrose
    • 1
  • William S. Rholes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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