Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Can the Hopelessness Model of Depression and Response Style Theory Be Integrated?

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Can the Hopelessness Model of Depression and Response Style Theory Be Integrated?

Article excerpt

Two major cognitive theories to explain the development and maintenance of depression are the Hopelessness Model (Abramson, Alloy, & Metalsky, 1989) and response style theory (RST; Nolen-Hoeksema, Girgus, & Seligman, 1992). These empirically supported (for reviews, see Abramson et al., 2002; Thomsen, 2006) models offer a theoretical rationale for which constructs contribute to the onset and maintenance of depression and are associated with effective interventions (e.g., Hawley et al., 2014; Michalak, Holz, & Teismann, 2011). Thus, an empirically supported theoretical model integrating both theories and describing how the variables proposed in one model relate to the variables of the other model would provide a theoretical framework for how therapeutic techniques from one cognitive model can influence constructs from another model. Moreover, an integrative model may allow increased effectiveness of cognitive psychotherapies for depressive symptoms because counselors can integrate therapeutic techniques from different cognitive models into one theory-driven treatment approach (e.g., Hawley et al., 2014; Michalak et al., 2011). Thus, the purpose of the present study was to test and compare multiple theoretically possible models to integrate the Hopelessness Model and RST into one model to explain the development and maintenance of depression.

* Hopelessness Model

The Hopelessness Model (Abramson et al., 1989) proposes that negative inferences and hopelessness work in a sequence to cause depressive symptoms. The negative inferences about negative events form what is called a negative cognitive style. Individuals with this style will make negative inferences about a negative event's (a) internality of cause, (b) stability of cause, (c) globality of cause, (d) consequences, and (e) characteristics of the self following the event. Negative inferences about stability, globality, consequences, and characteristics of the self--but not inferences about internality--are proposed to lead to hopelessness (Abramson et al., 1989), which triggers the development of a variety of symptoms of hopelessness depression, a subtype of depression. Even though negative inferences about internality of cause do not lead to hopelessness, they lead to low self-esteem, another symptom of hopelessness depression. Although the different negative inferences are traditionally summarized into a composite score (Haeffel et al., 2008), studies with college students in the midwestern United States (65.2% female; Haeffel, 2010) and Canadian adults in a clinical sample (86.1% female; Abela, Aydin, & Auerbach, 2006) found evidence that more variance of depressive symptoms is explained when the individual negative inferences are considered. In other words, the individual negative inferences and not the composite score should be studied because the composite score can mask one very negative inferential style if the other inferences are less negative. Although the Hopelessness Model is empirically well supported (for a review, see Abramson et al., 2002), the inferences proposed in the Hopelessness Model do not completely explain the development and maintenance of depressive symptoms. Thus, additional predictors should be considered and integrated into the Hopelessness Model. One possible cognitive construct that is missing in the Hopelessness Model but that is also related to the development and maintenance of depressive symptoms is how individuals process and respond to their depressive mood (Nolen-Hoeksema et al., 1992).

* RST

RST asserts that the individual's cognitive response to his or her depressive mood determines the onset, severity, and length of a depressive episode (Nolen-Hoeksema et al., 1992). Individuals who react to a depressive mood by repetitively thinking about their mood and the consequences of the mood are said to have a ruminative response style, which magnifies their depressive mood. This ruminative response style can be divided into three subtypes: brooding, reflection, and depression-related rumination (Treynor, Gonzalez, & Nolen-Hoeksema, 2003). …

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