Depression Colors Way Girls Interpret Events

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO -- Depressed girls reported more negative life events in the past year compared with nondepressed girls, and the depressed girls felt greater effects from bad events, a study of 166 girls found.

The findings support cognitive models of depression that describe a person's dysfunctional thinking and attitudes leading to depression, and the depression biasing the person's interpretation of experiences, Nicole Moody and her associates reported in a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Ms. Moody is a graduate student in educational psychology at the University of Texas, Austin.

As part of an ongoing study of depression in central Texas, girls aged 9-14 years completed the Life Events Checklist, a self-report measure that assesses major life events during the past 12 months.

The measure lists events related to family health, family member changes, family moves, money, crises, unexpected news, parent's marital relationship, parent-child relationship, school, and family resources.

The girls were asked to check any of the listed events that happened to them and to indicate whether the event was "good" or "bad" and to rate how much of an effect it had on their lives.

Doctoral students in the school of psychiatry then administered the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children, a semistructured clinical interview.

Using results of this measure plus child and parent reports of depressive symptoms in the girls, 118 girls were diagnosed as depressed. The 48 nondepressed girls served as the control group.

Girls in the depressed group reported a mean of 6. …