Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 633–649 | Cite as

Explanatory Style as a Risk Factor for Traumatic Mishaps

  • Christopher Peterson
  • Michael P. Bishop
  • Christopher W. Fletcher
  • Mara R. Kaplan
  • Erika S. Yesko
  • Christina H. Moon
  • Joshua S. Smith
  • Claire E. Michaels
  • Andrew J. Michaels


Six studies investigated a possible link between hopeless explanatory style—that is, the habitual explanation of bad events with stable and global causes—and risk for traumatic injuries. In samples of college students, dancers, athletes, and trauma patients (total n = 2274), stable and global explanations for bad events correlated with the occurrence of mishaps. The link appeared to be mediated in part by a preference for potentially hazardous settings and activities in response to negative moods associated with hopelessness. Taken together, these findings suggest that catastrophizing individuals may be motivated to escape negative moods by preferring exciting but risky courses of action.

explanatory style trauma accidents 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Peterson
    • 1
  • Michael P. Bishop
    • 2
  • Christopher W. Fletcher
    • 3
  • Mara R. Kaplan
    • 3
  • Erika S. Yesko
    • 4
  • Christina H. Moon
    • 5
  • Joshua S. Smith
    • 6
  • Claire E. Michaels
    • 7
  • Andrew J. Michaels
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganUSA
  2. 2.School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyCase Western Reserve UniversityUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KansasUSA
  6. 6.Departments of Psychiatry and SurgeryUniversity of MichiganUSA
  7. 7.MindBody Medicine of Portland
  8. 8.Department of SurgeryEmanuel HospitalPortland

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