The article presents the Romanian norms for the Cognitive Style Questionnaire. The results are, in general consistent with those reported in earlier normative studies involving English-speaking samples. The sample of this study consisted of clinical and non-clinical subjects (N=736). The reliability of the new instrument is adequate, internal consistency coefficients (Cronbach's Alpha) ranging from .68 to .84.
Keywords: cognitive style, depression, Romanian norms, Cognitive Style Questionnaire
Beck's theory of depression stems from the psychodynamic theory, but the author gradually became discontent with the psychoanalytical explanation of depression, which was understood not only as a form of repressing hostility, but also as a sum of negative thoughts in relation to the self, the world and the future. Studying George Kelly's theory of personal constructs, according to which people make sense of reality by elaborating, in the manner of scientists, hypotheses, which they put to test, and predictions, Beck was attracted by this point of view, using it in the elaboration of his own theory (Beck, 1985). Beck points out that depressive patients interpret reality in a distorted fashion, without relying on "testing hypotheses" or on "predictions" concerning reality (Beck, Steer, Beck, & Newman, 1993). Moreover, Beck advances the view that the depressive person's perception of his or her experience is influenced not only by the experienced reality, but also by emotions related to the experience (Beck, 1985). He suggests that depressives have a negative frame of the self, which causes automatic thoughts and the cognitive triad. He supports his ideas on the assumption of all cognitive models that cognitive processes mediate all behavioral or emotional responses, in other words, that "we feel what we think". Beck's cognitive theory of depression views it as "the absence of an understanding of life" rather than a biochemical imbalance or as a pathological state of mind, and "cognitive errors" are believed to result into negative attitudes and erroneous assumptions about the self, the future, and current experiences in the world (Beck, Kovacs, Weissman, 1975).
In relation to depressive pathology, Beck indicates a disturbance in the content of a person's thinking, this aspect being reflected in automatic thoughts, disturbances in information processing or cognitive distortions, all resulting from the cognitive schemata or the "pattern" that gives meaning to the world.
The following essential elements can be identified in Beck's theory:
- automatic thoughts, cognitive distortions and depressive cognitive patterns;
- the negative cognitive triad or the negative cognitive style.
The disturbance in the content of a person's thinking is related to aversive events, childhood traumas or stress, which influence the formation of the person's beliefs and attitudes, and make him/her vulnerable to depressive problems. The rigid and absolutistic beliefs will mediate the onset of problems, these beliefs becoming means whereby that person perceives the world. They will also contribute to the development of certain concepts related to what goes on in the world, the principles that govern the world and how events are going to develop. An example of belief that can lead to depression is "I can be happy only if people that are important for me appreciate me".
The cognitive triad is associated with certain patterns of thought, which makes the individual appreciate his or her situation, as well as his or her own personality, in negative terms.
The negative cognitive triad or the negative cognitive style involves a negative perception on the self, a negative view of current events in the world and a negative perspective on the future. The negative perception of the self refers to the self-understanding of the depressive person in terms of incapacities, absence of any personal merits, moral or physical deficiencies. …