Self-Efficacy and Depression

  • James E. Maddux
  • Lisa J. Meier
Part of the The Plenum Series in Social/Clinical Psychology book series (SSSC)


Problems of adaptation and adjustment manifest themselves in both affective and behavioral difficulties. When people decide, however, to seek professional assistance for their problems in adjustment, they usually do so not because they view their behavior as dysfunctional, but because they are in emotional distress. Among the painful emotional states, depression is the most common problem leading to referral to medical or psychological professionals (Goodwin & Guze, 1984). Although depression has been investigated from a variety of theoretical perspectives (e.g., psychoanalytic, existential, behavioral), in recent years social cognitive approaches have predominated. Those that have received the most attention are the helplessness/hopelessness model (Abramson, Seligman, & Teasdale, 1978; Alloy, Kelly, Mineka, Clements, 1990) and Beck’s cognitive model (Beck, 1976). The application of self-efficacy theory to depression has received less attention than these other two models, but holds promise for contributing to our understanding of depression. This chapter presents a self-efficacy theory of depression, reviews empirical studies of the application of self-efficacy theory to understanding depression, and discusses the relationship between self-efficacy theory and helplessness/hopelessness theory and cognitive theory. A basic premise of this chapter is that self-efficacy theory is not an alternative or competing approach to understanding depression, but it is compatible with other theories.


Depressed Mood Outcome Expectancy Negative Life Event Causal Attribution Attributional Style 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. Maddux
    • 1
  • Lisa J. Meier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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