Helpless attributions and depression in adolescents: The roles of anxiety, event valence, and demographics

Daniel Waschbusch, Denise P. Sellers, Monique LeBlanc, Mary L. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relationship between helpless attributions and depression is well established. This study evaluated whether anxiety, event valence (positive or negative) and demographic variables (gender, age, socioeconomic status or race) influence this relationship. Results showed: (1) adolescents with anxiety and depression who were from lower socioeconomic backgrounds made less helpless attributions for negative events than did adolescents from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, (2) male adolescents with anxiety-only had helpless attribution styles that were similar to male adolescents with depression, but the same was not true for female adolescents, and (3) African-American adolescents showed less helpless attributions for negative events than did Caucasian adolescents. Results replicate past research showing that a helpless attribution style is associated with depression in adolescence, but suggest that this pattern may be influenced by demographic factors. Results also suggest that helpless attributions may be related to both anxiety and depression in males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-183
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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