Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 747–768 | Cite as

Cognitive Vulnerability, Lifetime Risk, and the Recurrence of Major Depression in Graduate Students

  • Myriam MongrainEmail author
  • Susan Blackburn


The main purpose of this study was to determine the contribution of cognitive risk variables for previous episodes of major depression and for the recurrence of the disorder in a sample of university graduate students ( n = 97). Participants were diagnosed with at least one prior episode of major depression and were assessed again 16 months later ( n = 77). Consistent with previous findings (Alloy et al., 2000. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109, 403–418), cognitive measures including dysfunctional attitudes and a negative attributional style were associated with a greater number of previous episodes of depression, controlling for mood, neuroticism, rumination, sociotropy, and autonomy. Cognitive vulnerability in the achievement domain as well as neuroticism and sociotropy were uniquely related to a greater number of previous episodes of depression. Negative attributions and autonomy predicted the recurrence of the disorder, controlling for past history of depression and all other variables. These findings suggest that the autonomous personality style and negative attributions are particularly pernicious for the recurrence of depression in graduate students. The cognitive variables were not related to anxiety diagnoses, but did predict Axis 2 disorders.

Key Words

depression attributions dysfunctional attitudes rumination sociotropy autonomy personality disorders 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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