Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Neuroticism and Depressive Symptomatology: The Mediating Influence of College Student Floccinaucinihilipilification

Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Neuroticism and Depressive Symptomatology: The Mediating Influence of College Student Floccinaucinihilipilification

Article excerpt

This study tested a mediation model between depression and neuroticism on 209 college students. Previous research suggests that students who appraise their lives as having no value or worth, which is known as floccinaucinihilipilification (flocci), may be prone to depressive symptoms because of a neurotic disposition. Results found flocci domains targeted at the self and relationships partially mediated the neuroticismdepression relation. Implications and recommendations for professionals are discussed.

Keywords: floccinaucinihilipilification, depression, neuroticism, appraisals, mediation


There is a growing body of research that supports the link between neuroticism and depressive symptomatology among the college population (e.g., Hutchinson & Williams, 2007; Roelofs, Huibers, Peeters, & Arntz, 2008). Although this relation is robust, researchers have found that it is often mediated, either in part or hilly, by other factors such as context (Hutchinson & Williams, 2007), emotion (Lee, 2009), and cognition (Roelofs et al., 2008). What has not been examined, however, is the role floccinaucinihilipilification (flocci for short), a specific type of cognitive appraisal, plays in this connection. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the mediating influence of three domains of college student flocci on the relationship between neuroticism and depression and its implications for counselors.

Depression is one of the most common and debilitating psychiatric disorders affecting college students. Although one in four young adults is estimated to experience clinical levels of depression by the age of 24 (Kessler & Walters, 1998), some studies indicate that as much as 80% of college students have some form of depression (Garlow et al., 2008; Westefeld & Furr, 1987). Depression has a pervasive influence on the lives of college students. Depression not only hurts academic performance (Hysenbegasi, Hass, & Rowland, 2005) but also is linked to health problems such as infectious diseases (Adams, Wharton, Quilter, & Hirsch, 2008). The most alarming correlate of college student depression is suicide, which is the third leading cause of death among Americans ages 10 to 24 years (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008). In addition, depression is rated third among presenting problems in college counseling centers, preceded by academic-related stress and then anxiety (Drum & Baron, 1998).

One of the most potent risk, factors associated with college student depression is neuroticism. Similar to depression, neuroticism levels appear to be relatively high among college-age individuals (Roberts & Mroczek, 2008). Although theorists differ in their specifics, most share in the perspective that neuroticism is a basic dimension of personality that reflects a tendency to experience negative emotional states (Clark & Watson, 1991; Costa & McCrae, 1980; Eysenck, 1967). Neuroticism is a biologically based trait (see Eysenck, 1967) that is so strongly connected to depression that it is incorporated in contemporary models of psychopathology (Clark & Watson, 1991) and shares a considerable degree of genetic influence with that disorder (Kendler, Gatz, Gardiner, & Pedersen, 2006). It has been suggested that personality traits, such as neuroticism, are related to Axis I disorders by predisposing an individual to a certain disorder or by influencing how a disorder is expressed (Widiger & Trull, 1992). Thus, understanding neuroticism and its relationship with depression can help counselors to better predict those college students who may be vulnerable to depression. Despite neuroticism's predictive power, mediating variables also have improved researchers' understanding of college student depression.

The habit of regarding something as having no value or worth, that is flocci (Shipley, 1955), may mediate the relationship between college student neuroticism and depression. …

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