Negative responses to depression: The role of attributional style

Abstract

Recent research has demonstrated that depressed individuals induce negative mood and elicit rejection in those with whom they interact. The present study was designed to examine the role of a depressive attributional style in this mood induction/rejection phenomenon. A group of 120 male and 120 female undergraduates read transcripts describing either a male or a female depressed, physically ill, or normal target individual who exhibited either behavioral or characterological self-blame for the cause of a negative event in his or her life. Subjects imagined interacting with the target and then responded to measures of mood and rejection. Both the depressed and the physically ill target individuals were found to elicit more negative mood and rejection than did the normal targets. In addition, subjects responded more negatively to the characterological than to the behavioral attributional style only when the target was described as normal; these two attributional styles did not elicit differential responses from subjects when the targets were already symptomatic. Finally, no differences in mood or rejection were obtained as a function of the sex of either the targets or the subjects. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for interactional models of depression. The consideration of attributional style as a vulnerability factor to depression is proposed, and a number of directions for future research are offered.

DOI: 10.1007/BF01178753

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Cite this paper

@article{Gotlib2005NegativeRT, title={Negative responses to depression: The role of attributional style}, author={Ian H. Gotlib and Mary Ellen Beatty}, journal={Cognitive Therapy and Research}, year={2005}, volume={9}, pages={91-103} }