Skip to main content
Log in

Integrating Beck’s Cognitive Theory of Depression and the Hopelessness Model in an Adolescent Sample

  • Published:
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Adolescence is a critical period in the development of depression. Hence, researching the applicability of cognitive theories in adolescents is crucial. Currently, much remains unknown about how cognitive variables proposed in different theories interplay with one another and whether gender differences in these associations exist. Attempting to integrate Beck’s cognitive model and the hopelessness model in adolescents, we conducted a 4-wave study using self-report instruments with 499 adolescents (mean ageTime1 = 15.33 years; SD = 0.75; 63.3% female; 73.7% White, 13.8% Black, 5.4% Latina/o, 4.4% mixed race/ethnicity, and 2.6% other) from a high school where almost one third of the students were eligible for free or reduced lunch. Using AMOS and PROCESS to calculate and compare four different theory-driven models, we found support for an integrated model in which the inferential styles proposed in the hopelessness model are located between cognitive errors and the cognitive triad from Beck’s cognitive theory. Further, the individual inferential styles and elements of the cognitive triad are associated differently with each other and other variables in the integrated cognitive model. The gender differences we found were limited and did not form a meaningful pattern. If replicated, the integrated model could be the basis to understand how therapeutic techniques developed to modify cognitive variables proposed in one model can impact cognitive constructs from a different theory. This might make cognitive psychotherapies for depression more effective, as it will allow clinicians to integrate therapeutic techniques based on either of the original theories in one theory-driven treatment approach.

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

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Abela, J. R., & Hankin, B. L. (2008). Handbook of depression in children and adolescents. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Abramson, L. Y., Alloy, L. B., & Metalsky, G. I. (1988). The cognitive diathesis-stress theories of depression: Toward an adequate evaluation of the theories’ validities. In L. B. Alloy (Ed.), Cognitive processes in depression (pp. 3–30). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Abramson, L. Y., Alloy, L. B., & Metalsky, G. I. (1989). Hopelessness depression: A theory-based subtype of depression. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 358–372.

    Google Scholar 

  • Abramson, L. Y., Seligman, M. E. P., & Teasdale, J. D. (1978). Learned helplessness in humans: Critique and reformulation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 87, 49–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Akaike, H. (1974). A new look at the statistical model identification. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 19, 716–723. https://doi.org/10.1109/TAC.1974.1100705.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alloy, L. B., Clements, C., & Kolden, G. (1985). The cognitive diathesis-stress theories of depression: Therapeutic implications. In S. Reiss & R. R. Bootzin (Eds.), Theoretical issues in behaviour therapy. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Arbuckle, J. L. (1999). Amos user’s guide. Chicago, IL: SmallWaters.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T. (1967). Depression: Clinical, experimental, and theoretical aspects. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T. (1976). Cognitive therapy and the emotional disorders. New York, NY: International University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T. (1996). Beyond belief: A theory of modes, personality, and psychopathology. In P. M. Salkovskis (Ed.), Frontiers of cognitive therapy. New York, NY: Guildford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T., & Weishaar, M. (2005). Cognitive therapy. In R. J. Corsini & D. Wedding (Eds.), Current psychotherapies. Thomson Brooks: Belmont, CA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238–246.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bufferd, S. J., Dougherty, L. R., Carlson, G. A., Rose, S., & Klein, D. N. (2012). Psychiatric disorders in preschoolers: Continuity from ages 3 to 6. American Journal of Psychiatry, 169, 1157–1164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burkholder, G. J., & Harlow, L. L. (2003). An illustration of a longitudinal cross-lagged design for larger structural equation models. Structural Equation Modeling, 10, 465–486.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burnham, K. P., & Anderson, D. R. (2002). Model selection and multimodel inference (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Buschmann, T., Horn, R. A., Blankenship, V. R., Garcia, Y. E., & Bohan, K. B. (2018). The relationship between automatic thoughts and irrational beliefs predicting anxiety and depression. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 36, 137–162. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10942-017-0278-y.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Byrne, B. M. (2001). Structural equation modeling with AMOS. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cole, D. A., Ciesla, J. A., Dallaire, D. H., Jacquez, F. M., Pineda, A. Q., LaGrange, B., Truss, A. E., Folmer, A. S., Tilghman-Osborne, C., & Felton, J. W. (2008). Emergence of attributional style and its relation to depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 16–31. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.117.1.16.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cole, D. A., & Maxwell, S. E. (2003). Testing mediational models with longitudinal data: Questions and tips in the use of structural equation modeling. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112, 558–577. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.112.4.558.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Collins, L. M., Schafer, J. L., & Kam, C.-M. (2001). A comparison of inclusive and restrictive strategies in modern missing data procedures. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 330–351.

    Google Scholar 

  • DeRubeis, R. J., Evans, M. D., Hollon, S. D., Garvey, M. J., Grove, W. M., & Tuason, V. B. (1990). How does cognitive therapy work? Cognitive change and symptoms change in cognitive therapy and pharmacotherapy for depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58, 862–869.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Garber, J., Weiss, B., & Shanley, N. (1993). Cognitions, depressive symptoms, and development in adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 102, 47–57. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.102.1.47.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ge, X., Conger, R. D., & Elder, G. H., Jr. (2001). Pubertal transition, stressful life events, and the emergence of gender differences in adolescent depressive symptoms. Developmental Psychology, 37, 404–417. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.37.3.404.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gibb, B. E., & Alloy, L. B. (2006). A prospective test of the hopelessness theory of depression in children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35, 264–274. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15374424jccp3502_10.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gillham, J. E., Jaycox, L. H., Reivich, K. J., Seligman, M. E. P., & Silver, T. (1990). The Penn resiliency program. Unpublished manual, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

  • Gotlib, I. H., & Neubauer, D. L. (2000). Information-processing approaches to the study of cognitive biases in depression. In S. L. Johnson, A. M. Hayes, T. M. Field, N. Schneiderman, & P. M. McCabe (Eds.), Stress, coping, and depression (pp. 117–142). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Graham, J. W. (2003). Adding missing-data-relevant variables to FIML-based structural equation models. Structural Equation Modeling, 10, 80–100. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15328007SEM1001_4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Haeffel, G. J., Abramson, L. Y., Voelz, Z. R., Metalsky, G. I., Halberstadt, L., Dykman, B. M., et al. (2003). Cognitive vulnerability to depression and lifetime history of axis I psychopathology: A comparison of negative cognitive styles (CSQ) and dysfunctional attitudes (DAS). Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 17, 3–22. https://doi.org/10.1891/jcop.17.1.3.58269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hankin, B. L., & Abramson, L. Y. (2002). Measuring cognitive vulnerability to depression in adolescence: Reliability, validity, and gender differences. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 31, 491–504. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15374424JCCP3104_8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hankin, B. L., Lakdawalla, Z., Latchis Carter, I., Abela, J. R. Z., & Adams, P. (2007). Are neuroticism, cognitive vulnerabilities and self-esteem overlapping or distinct risks for depression? Evidence from exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26, 29–63. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2007.26.1.29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hankin, B. L., Mermelstein, R., & Roesch, L. (2007). Sex differences in adolescent depression: Stress exposure and reactivity models. Child Development, 78, 279–295. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.00997.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hayes, A. F. (2018). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hjemdal, O., Stiles, T., & Wells, A. (2013). Automatic thoughts and meta-cognition as predictors of depressive or anxious symptoms: A prospective study of two trajectories. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 54, 59–65. https://doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12010.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hollon, S. D., Kendall, P. C., & Lumry, A. (1980). Specificity of depressotypic cognitions in clinical depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 52–59.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hosmer, D. W., & Lemeshow, S. (1989). Applied logistic regression. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cut-off criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jacobs, R. H., Reinecke, M. A., Gollan, J. K., & Kane, P. (2008). Empirical evidence of cognitive vulnerability for depression among children and adolescents: A cognitive science and developmental perspective. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, 759–782. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2007.10.006.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, D., Dupuis, G., Piche, J., Clayborne, Z., & Colman, I. (2018). Adult mental health outcomes of adolescent depression: A systematic review. Depression and Anxiety, 35, 700–716. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22777.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Jones, E. B., & Sharpe, L. (2017). Cognitive bias modification: A review of meta-analyses. Journal of Affective Disorders, 223, 175–183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2017.07.034.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kaslow, N. J., Stark, K. D., Printz, B., Livingston, R., & Tsai, S. L. (1992). Cognitive triad inventory for children: Development and relation to depression and anxiety. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 21, 339–347. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15374424jccp2104_3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kessler, R. C., Petukhova, M., Sampson, N. A., Zaslavsky, A. M., & Wittchen, H.-U. (2012). Twelve-month and lifetime prevalence and lifetime morbid risk of anxiety and mood disorders in the United States. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 21, 169–184. https://doi.org/10.1002/mpr.1359.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Kline, R. B. (2015). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kwon, S.-M., & Oei, T. P. S. (1992). Differential causal roles of dysfunctional attitudes and automatic thoughts in depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 16, 309–328.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lakdawalla, Z., Hankin, B. J., & Mermelstein, R. (2007). Cognitive theories of depression in children and adolescents: A conceptual and quantitative review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 10, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-006-0013-1.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Leitenberg, H., Yost, L., & Carroll-Wilson, M. (1986). Negative cognitive errors in children: Questionnaire development, normative data, and comparisons between children with and without self-reported symptoms of depression, low self-esteem and evaluation anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 528–536. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.54.4.528.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McCarty, C. A., Vander Stoep, A., & McCauley, E. (2007). Cognitive features associated with depressive symptoms in adolescence: Directionality and specificity. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36, 147–158. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374410701274926.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Meade, A. W., Johnson, E. C., & Braddy, P. W. (2008). Power and sensitivity of alternative fit indices in tests of measurement invariance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 568–592. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.93.3.568.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Metalsky, G. I., & Joiner, T. E., Jr. (1992). Vulnerability to depressive symptomatology: A prospective test of the diathesis-stress and causal mediation components of the hopelessness theory of depression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 667–675.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Morrow, J. (1991). A prospective study of depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms after a natural disaster: The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 115–121. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.61.1.115.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pennant, M. E., Loucas, C. E., Whittington, C., Creswell, C., Fonagy, P., Fuggle, P., … & Group, E. A. (2015). Computerised therapies for anxiety and depression in children and young people: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 67, 1–18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2015.01.009.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pössel, P. (2011). Can Beck’s theory of depression and the response style theory be integrated? Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58, 618–629. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025092.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pössel, P. (2017). Comparing different sequential mediational interpretations of Beck’s depression model in adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46, 725–743. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-016-0551-x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pössel, P., & Knopf, K. (2008). An experimental test of the maintenance and vulnerability hypothesis of depression in consideration of the cognitive hierarchy. Depression and Anxiety, 25, E47–E55. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20313.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pössel, P., & Knopf, K. (2011). Bridging the gaps: An attempt to integrate three major cognitive depression models. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 35, 342–358. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-010-9325-z.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pössel, P., Smith, E., & Alexander, O. (2018). LARS&LISA: A universal school-based cognitive-behavioral program to prevent adolescent depression. Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica|Psychology: Research and Review, 31, 23. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41155-018-0104-1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pössel, P., & Thomas, S. D. (2011). Cognitive triad as mediator in the hopelessness model? A three-wave longitudinal study. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67, 224–240. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20751.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pössel, P., & Winkeljohn Black, S. (2014). Testing three different sequential mediational interpretations of Beck’s cognitive model of the development of depression. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70, 72–94. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22001.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 879–891.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D: A self-report symptom scale to detect depression in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 3, 385–401.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roberts, R. E., Andrews, J. A., Lewinsohn, P. M., & Hops, H. (1990). Assessment of depression in adolescents using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Psychological Assessment, 2, 122–128. https://doi.org/10.1037/1040-3590.2.2.122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scher, C. D., Ingram, R. E., & Segal, Z. V. (2005). Cognitive reactivity and vulnerability: Empirical evaluation of construct activation and cognitive diatheses in unipolar depression. Clinical Psychology Review, 25, 487–510.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Spangler, D. L., Simons, A. D., Monroe, S. M., & Thase, M. E. (1997). Comparison of cognitive models of depression: Relationships between cognitive constructs and cognitive diathesis-stress match. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 395–403. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.106.3.395.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Steiger, J. H. & Lind, J. M. (1980, May). Statistically based tests for the number of common factors. Paper presented at the Psychometrika society meeting, Iowa City, Iowa.

  • Turner, J. E., & Cole, D. A. (1994). Developmental differences in cognitive diatheses for child depression. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 22, 15–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Weissman, A. N., & Beck, A. T. (1978, November). Development and validation of the dysfunctional attitude scale (DAS). Paper presented at the 12th annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of behavior therapy, Chicago, IL.

  • Weitlauf, A. S., & Cole, D. A. (2012). Cognitive development masks support for attributional style models of depression in children and adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 849–862. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-012-9617-8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Patrick Pössel.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material

ESM 1

(DOCX 44 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Pössel, P., Smith, E. Integrating Beck’s Cognitive Theory of Depression and the Hopelessness Model in an Adolescent Sample. J Abnorm Child Psychol 48, 435–451 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-019-00604-8

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-019-00604-8

Keywords

Navigation