Cognitive and personality correlates of adolescent depressed mood

Lisa Diane Dancho, Fordham University


The primary purpose of this study was to add to the current state of knowledge on the role of cognitive factors in the understanding of depressed mood and changing incidence rates in adolescents. This area of study that has been neglected, with few exceptions, in contrast to the extensive amount of research that has been conducted in the role of cognitive factors in the etiology of adult depression. The life-altering importance of avoiding, or mitigating, the onset of an initial depressive condition highlights the need to better understand those factors that precipitate depressed mood in adolescents. This longitudinal study was designed to address the following questions: (a) Are there correlations between depressed mood and attributional style, beliefs regarding the stability of traits, and levels of rumination? (b) Are older children more likely to experience depressive moods than younger children? (c) Are there any gender differences in depressed mood, attributional style, beliefs regarding stability of traits, and rumination level? (d) Which of these factors, or combination of factors, demonstrates the ability to predict depressed mood over time? The study's results support previous research that has shown correlations between depression and attributional style, depression and beliefs about stability of traits, and depression and rumination. The results also strengthen the limited research that has been conducted for adolescent populations by providing further support to the primary facts that (a) depressed mood-cognitive factor relationships exist for this societal group, and (b) increases in both cognitive factors and depressed mood are positively correlated with age. The results did not support any findings of significant gender difference during the ages examined in this study, although the data did appear to indicate that the group was approaching the point at which divergence may begin. Further investigation is needed, however, to ascertain the age where significant differences start. The study's limitations of sample size and population homogeneity point out a need to enlarge the participant group and include a more diverse mix, including a broader ethnic and socioeconomic population.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Psychotherapy

Recommended Citation

Dancho, Lisa Diane, "Cognitive and personality correlates of adolescent depressed mood" (2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3182450.