A Longitudinal Examination of the Hopelessness Theory of Depression in People Who Have Multiple Sclerosis.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Behav Neurol, 2015, 2015, pp. 190405
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PURPOSE: Hopelessness theory predicts that negative attributional style will interact with negative life events over time to predict depression. The intention of this study was to test this in a population who are at greater risk of negative life events, people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). METHOD: Data, including measures of attributional style, negative life events, and depressive symptoms, were collected via postal survey in 3 phases, each one a year apart. RESULTS: Responses were received from over 380 participants at each study phase. Negative attributional style was consistently able to predict future depressive symptoms at low to moderate levels of association; however, this ability was not sustained when depressive symptoms at Phase 1 were controlled for. No substantial evidence to support the hypothesised interaction of negative attributional style and negative life events was found. CONCLUSIONS: Findings were not supportive of the causal interaction proposed by the hopelessness theory of depression. Further work considering other time frames, using methods to prime attributional style before assessment and specifically assessing the hopelessness subtype of depression, may prove to be more fruitful. Intervention directly to address attributional style should also be considered.
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