Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


In recent years a number of models of depression have been developed which provide a theoretical basis for identifying factors that may increase a person's risk for depression. One such model, Beck's cognitive model of depression, hypothesizes that individuals who endorse a large number of dysfunctional attitudes are at risk for depression, and that the interaction of dysfunctional thinking with stressful life events results in depressive symptomatology. Using a measure of daily hassles to assess stress, the present study provided an evaluation of this proposed interaction. In addition, the stress appraisals and coping responses employed by these vulnerable individuals to a series of stressful events were compared with the responses of nonvulnerable nondepressed, and depressed individuals.;Sixty-nine women from the community completed measures of vulnerability to depression, depressive symptomatology, and life events on two occasions approximately two months apart. Measures of daily hassles, stress appraisals, and coping responses were also obtained for the four, two-week, intervals between the initial assessment and the follow-up.;Results consistent with a diathesis-stress model of depression were obtained. In addition, vulnerable individuals who reported high levels of stress tended to employ a style of coping similar to that of currently depressed individuals. This style was characterized by a lack of confidence in their ability to manage stressful events and by a reluctance to seek support from others. In contrast, the responses of vulnerable individuals with low stress more closely resembled those of nonvulnerable, nondepressed individuals.;The present study also provided a preliminary evaluation of the hypothesis that individuals whose information processing was characterized by a relatively greater accessibility of negative information would also be at risk for depression. The interaction of information accessibility with stress was examined but results failed to support this hypothesized interaction.;The present results are discussed with respect to the roles played by vulnerability, life events, stress appraisals, and coping in the etiology and maintenance of depression. Implications for future research and the treatment of depression are also discussed.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.