Change in Explanatory Flexibility and Explanatory Style in Cognitive Therapy and its Components

  • Michael T. Moore
  • David M. Fresco
  • Jeremiah A. Schumm
  • Keith S. Dobson
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10608-016-9825-6

Cite this article as:
Moore, M.T., Fresco, D.M., Schumm, J.A. et al. Cogn Ther Res (2017). doi:10.1007/s10608-016-9825-6


The current study represents a secondary analysis of the dismantling study of cognitive therapy of depression originally conducted by Jacobson et al. (J Consult Clin Psychol 64:295–304, 1996). New analyses examined the role of explanatory flexibility and explanatory style in the recovery from depression. Results indicated that BA treatment responders, but not AT or CT participants evidenced significant improvement in explanatory flexibility, whereas patients from all three study arms, irrespective of responder status demonstrated improvements in explanatory style. Improvement in explanatory flexibility was associated with decreases in symptoms of depression for CT, but not BA or AT, participants. Further, the combination of high explanatory flexibility and low explanatory style conferred maximal protection over relapse. These results suggest that explanatory flexibility is a viable candidate as a process associated with treatment gains in CT. In addition, the results suggest that important cognitive change is possible without an explicit, deliberate focus on the part of the therapist.


Cognitive therapy Depression Explanatory flexibility Explanatory style 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note

    Copyright information

    © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

    Authors and Affiliations

    1. 1.Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological StudiesAdelphi UniversityGarden CityUSA
    2. 2.Department of PsychologyKent State UniversityKentUSA
    3. 3.School of Professional PsychologyWright State UniversityDaytonUSA
    4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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