When exposed to stressful life events, a significant number of adolescents will experience depressive symptoms. One model of depression suggests that individuals with a negative cognitive style are most vulnerable to depression following life stress. Alternatively, altered activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis may explain vulnerability to depression following life stress. Each of these models plausibly explains the emergence of depressive symptoms during adolescence and have been investigated largely independently. The current study recruited a sample of urban adolescents (N = 179) to evaluate whether cortisol response to a laboratory stress induction and negative cognitive style are related and whether they independently interact with exposure to stressful life events to predict symptoms of depression. Negative cognitive style was not associated with cortisol response to the laboratory stressor. Rather, negative cognitive style and cortisol recovery independently interacted with stressful life events to predict current symptoms of depression. Results support a heterogeneous etiology of depression.
- life stress
- negative cognitive style
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Behavioral Neuroscience