Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 211–220 | Cite as

Attributional processing style differences in depressed and nondepressed individuals

  • Daniele Kammer


A series of four studies used different measures to assess the amount of attributional processing following failure and success. It was found that, from an actor's point of view, relatively depressed students consistently differed from relatively nondepressed students in the amount of their attributional processing. The depressed individuals reported more attributions for both hypothetical and real failure, compared to the nondepressed individuals. They also reported fewer attributions for hypothetical success than the nondepressed individuals. In line with previous findings, depressed individuals took less personal credit for their successes and ascribed their failures more pronouncedly to their lack of ability. The findings reflect a depressive attributional processing style that encompasses individual differences, both in the content and in the amount of causal thinking following failure and success. Integration of this style into the attributional helplessness model of depression is suggested. The findings are compatible with a differential self-esteem view of depression and with aspects of Kuhl's functional helplessness model of depression. Implications for depression therapy are briefly discussed.


Individual Difference Social Psychology Depressed Individual Processing Style Helplessness Model 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniele Kammer
    • 1
  1. 1.Fakultät Psychologie und SportUniversität BielefeldBielefeldFederal Republic of Germany

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