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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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58. Attributions in Daily Life: Establishing Preliminary Validity of the Attributional Overdrive Scale

The well-supported hopelessness theory of depression posits that cognitive vulnerabilities in the form of negative inferential styles—tendencies to attribute negative events to stable and global causes and to infer negative consequences for the future and one’s self—interact with negative life events to predict depression. However, the degree to which individuals actually engage in attributional thinking presumably would play a critical role in determining whether or not negative inferential styles lead to depression. To begin to investigate this hypothesis, a measure was developed to assess frequency of attributional thinking, and the present study sought to validate this measure (the Attributional Overdrive Scale). A 14-day online daily diary study in a community sample (anticipated N = 200) is currently underway to test whether attributional overdrive at baseline predicts daily attributional thinking, especially in response to stressors. Results from preliminary data (N = 128) indicated that attributional overdrive predicted greater average daily attributional thinking over and above other measures of repetitive negative thinking, but the interaction between attributional overdrive and daily stress was not significant. Although the present study established preliminary validity of the Attributional Overdrive Scale, future analyses will test attributional overdrive’s relationships with both negative inferential style and depression.

Amanda Hellwig
University at Buffalo

John Roberts
University at Buffalo


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