The role of cognitive biases and negative life events in predicting later depressive symptoms in children and adolescents

JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY(2023)

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摘要
AimsCognitive models propose that negative cognitive biases in attention (AB) and interpretation (IB) contribute to the onset of depression. This is the first prospective study to test this hypothesis in a sample of youth with no mental disorder.MethodsParticipants were 61 youth aged 9-14 years with no mental disorder. At baseline (T1) we measured AB (passive-viewing task), IB (scrambled sentences task) and self-report depressive symptoms. Thirty months later (T2) we measured onset of mental disorder, depressive symptoms and life events (parent- and child-report). The sample included children of parents with (n = 31) and without (n = 30) parental depression.ResultsSymptoms of depression at T2 were predicted by IB (ss = .35, p = .01) but not AB (ss = .05, p = .72) at T1. This effect was strongest for children who experienced multiple negative life events (F-2,F-48 = 6.0, p = .018, & UDelta;R-2 = .08). IB did not predict depressive symptoms at T2 over-and-above the effect of depressive symptoms at T1 (ss = .21, p = .13).DiscussionThese findings suggest that IB (but not AB) plays an important role in the aetiology of depression. Modifying IB may have a preventive effect on youth depression, particularly for youth who experience negative life events. This prospective study provides important foundations for future experimental studies.
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关键词
depressive symptoms,negative life events,cognitive biases,adolescents
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