Control-related cognitions and depression among inpatient children and adolescents.
In previous studies, children with numerous depressive symptoms have shown two patterns of control-related cognition: (1) low levels of perceived personal competence, and (2) "contingency uncertainty"--confusion regarding the causes of significant events. The generality of these findings was tested for more seriously disturbed children. Three child inpatient samples, from separate psychiatric hospitals, completed the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) plus measures of control-related beliefs. In all three samples, the findings resembled those of previous studies: CDI scores were significantly related to low perceived competence and to contingency uncertainty; by contrast, CDI scores were only weakly related to perceived noncontingency. The findings suggest that depressive symptoms in children may be (1) more closely linked to "personal helplessness" than to "universal helplessness," and (2) more closely linked to uncertainty about the causes of events than to firm beliefs in noncontingency. The findings carry implications for etiology and treatment of child depression.
Weisz, JR; Stevens, JS; Curry, JF; Cohen, R; Craighead, WE; Burlingame, WV; Smith, A; Weiss, B; Parmelee, DX
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