Date of Award

1989

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Mary L. Kelley

Abstract

Researchers have shown an increased interest in depression in children and adolescents in the last few years. As a result, a body of research exists which has focused on the cognitive and behavioral aspects of depression in children and adolescents. Few studies, however, have examined the relation of emotion to depression. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the relation of cognition, emotion and behavior to depression. Eighty adolescents (nonreferred) from public schools in a southern city and seventy-three adolescents (emotionally disturbed) from a psychiatric facility in the same area participated in the study. Each adolescent completed self-report measures tapping the areas of emotion, cognition and behavior. In addition, 32 of the emotionally disturbed adolescents were rated on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale to provide an external criterion of depression. Preliminary analyses revealed no significant differences between groups on age, gender and race. Differences did emerge when examined at a multivariate level. Discriminant analyses conducted to determine whether the dependent measures could correctly identify members of the emotionally disturbed and normal groups indicated that the groups were able to be significantly differentiated. Emotions, negative self-statements and conflict with the mother were the best discriminators. Additionally, regression analyses were conducted in both the nonreferred and emotionally disturbed groups predicting RADS scores from the various self-report measures tapping emotion, cognition and behavior. In the nonreferred group, RADS scores were significantly predicted by emotions, negative self-statements and unpleasant activities; whereas in the emotionally disturbed population RADS scores were predicted by emotions, locus of control and unpleasant events. Despite the promising findings of this study, there are some limitations. The study relied solely on self-report measures, whereas future studies should employ alternative methods of assessment and informants. Additionally, the emotionally disturbed group consisted of adolescents with different diagnoses so it was uncertain as to whether the findings would hold in a diagnosed depressed population.

Pages

101

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