In evaluating research to test the hopelessness theory and Beck's theory of depression, we have arrived at a very disturbing conclusion: the various research strategies used to test these theories do not provide an adequate test of their basic postulates and may produce results that mislead investigators about their validities. In our view, the problems associated with past research strategies result, in part, from investigators' failure to appreciate the full methodological implications of the kinds of causal relations specified in the cognitive theories and, as a corollary, the heterogeneity that may exist among the depressive disorders. Indeed, researchers have not appreciated that these cognitive theories actually hypothesize the existence in nature of an,as yet, unidentified subtype of depression - """"""""negative cognition depression.""""""""Thus, the overarching goal of this collaborative grant is to provide a more powerful test of the hopelessness theory's and Beck's theory's predictors regarding the etiology and subsequent course of negative cognition depression and a validation of this subtype of depression. To this end we plan to conduct a large scale, two-year prospective study designed to test the etiological hypotheses of the cognitive theories of depression. In the Vulnerability Study, 420 currently nondepressed, non-psychopathological individuals who are at either high, medium or low risk for depression based on their cognitive styles will be followed prospectively for 2 years, on a monthly basis, with independent and blind self-report and interview assessments of stressful life events, cognitions and psychiatric status/symptomatology in order to predict onsets and subsequent relapses/recurrences of depression. These studies will contribute to the scientific understanding of the etiology of a subset of the affective disorders, to a more valid nosology of the depressive disorders and to the development of interventions for treating and preventing the negative cognition subtype of depression.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (SRCM (12))
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Wisconsin Madison
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Shapero, Benjamin G; Hamilton, Jessica L; Stange, Jonathan P et al. (2015) Moderate Childhood Stress Buffers Against Depressive Response to Proximal Stressors: A Multi-Wave Prospective Study of Early Adolescents. J Abnorm Child Psychol 43:1403-1413
Shapero, Benjamin G; Black, Shimrit K; Liu, Richard T et al. (2014) Stressful life events and depression symptoms: the effect of childhood emotional abuse on stress reactivity. J Clin Psychol 70:209-23
Cain, A S; Bardone-Cone, A M; Abramson, L Y et al. (2010) Prospectively predicting dietary restraint: the role of interpersonal self-efficacy, weight/shape self-efficacy, and interpersonal stress. Int J Eat Disord 43:505-12
Iacoviello, Brian M; Alloy, Lauren B; Abramson, Lyn Y et al. (2010) The early course of depression: a longitudinal investigation of prodromal symptoms and their relation to the symptomatic course of depressive episodes. J Abnorm Psychol 119:459-67
Safford, Scott M; Alloy, Lauren B; Abramson, Lyn Y et al. (2007) Negative cognitive style as a predictor of negative life events in depression-prone individuals: a test of the stress generation hypothesis. J Affect Disord 99:147-54
Showers, C J; Abramson, L Y; Hogan, M E (1998) The dynamic self: how the content and structure of the self-concept change with mood. J Pers Soc Psychol 75:478-93