ISSN : 2733-4538
The present study was a 3 months follow-up study to examine two hypotheses concerning persistence of depressive symptoms. The two hypotheses were based on Beck's Cognitive Theory of Depression, Ingram's Theory of Self-Focused Attention and Depression and Nolen-Hoeksema's Response Style Theory of Depression. The first hypothesis was that dysfunctional belief activated by depressive mood and automatic thought would influence persistence of depressive symptoms. The second hypothesis was that self-focused attention activated by depressive mood and ruminative response would influence persistence of depressive symptoms. 907 college students were given Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Dysfunctional Attitude Scale (DAS), Automatic Thought Questionnaire (ATQ), Self-Consciousness Scale (SCS), Response Style Questionnaire (RSQ). Of the 907 students, 171 with BDI score above 16 were interviewed individually in order to rule out those subjects for whom depression did not seem to be the primary symptom. The final group of 124 students were found to meet the criteria and the same battery of measures were mailed out to them 3 months after the initial assessment. 95 subjects returned the completed questionnaires and the following analyses were based on their data. The results were as follows : Dysfunctional attitude activated by depressive mood and automatic thought jointly predicted the level of depression 3 months later and after controlling for the initial level of depression, the effects of the two cognitive variables were not significant. Self-focused attention and ruminative response style jointly predicted the level of depression 3 months later. But self-focused attention by itself did not affect depressive symptoms concurrently or 3 months later. Ruminative response style at the initial assessment and its interaction with initial depression predicted depression at 3 months' follow-up. The results suggested that ruminative response style has priority to cognitive factors such as dysfunctional attitude and automatic thought in predicting persistence of depression. The results of the present study suggested the importance of behavioral and phenomenological factors such as ruminative response style as well as cognitive factors emphasized in the traditional cognitive approaches to depression. Implications of the resent findings for programs to prevent persistence or relapse of depression were discussed.