Psychology Publications

Document Type


Publication Date



Journal of Experimental Psychopathology





First Page


Last Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier


Cognitive theories have, for years, postulated the causal role of attentional biases in depression and low self-esteem. However, this assumption has been based predominantly on correlational findings. With the advent of attentional bias modification techniques (Mathews & MacLeod, 2002), it became possible to modify attentional bias experimentally. The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether negative attentional biases are trainable and causally linked to changes in important characteristics of depression, namely self-esteem. Participants completed negative attentional training and a stress induction task. Consistent with the diathesis-stress model, a combination of negative attentional biases and stress resulted in changes in self-esteem, which was used as an indicator of depression. The effects on self-esteem were specific to the type of stimuli used. These findings have important implications for our understanding of self-esteem, cognitive models of depression, and for the future of cognitive bias modification research in self-esteem and depression.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Included in

Psychology Commons



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.