Two studies with college students explored the relationship of a pessimistic attributional style to positive and negative affect, as well as to depressed and anxious mood. Both studies revealed that a pessimistic attributional style was correlated with negative affect and depressed mood, but was unrelated to low levels of positive affect. The second study also showed a correlation with anxiety and that the association of pessimistic attributional style with emotional distress occurs for both depression-relevant (i.e, loss/failure) as well as anxiety-relevant (i.e. threatening) events. The second study also provided a longitudinal test of the diathesis-stress component of the reformulated helplessness theory. Results supported the hypothesis that pessimistic attributional style is a nonspecific diathesis for symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Implications for these findings for cognitive theories of depression are addressed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health