Beliefs About the Causes and Permanence of Depression in High-Symptom Adolescents: Correlates, Parent-Child Agreement, and Stability Over Time [post]

Isaac Ahuvia, Jessica L. Schleider
2022 unpublished
Beliefs about the cause and timeline of depression inform how people manage depression, and are important predictors of clinical outcomes. However, more research is needed to understand the relationship between these variables, especially among adolescents. We assessed causal and timeline beliefs, as well as related depression beliefs (e.g., confidence in the effectiveness of therapy or medication) and clinical variables (e.g., depression symptom severity), in a sample of N = 106 adolescents
more » ... h elevated depression symptoms and their parents. All methods were pre-registered at Adolescents varied substantially in their endorsement of biological and environmental causes for depression, as well as in their beliefs about the timeline of depression. In contrast to prior research, we found that adolescents who held stronger biological causal beliefs also held stronger environmental causal beliefs (r = .39, p = .005). Moreover, neither causal beliefs were strongly linked with pessimistic timeline beliefs (prognostic pessimism) or with adolescents' confidence in medication or therapy. We did find that pessimistic timeline beliefs were associated with more severe depression symptoms (r = .42, p = .003). Beliefs showed moderate stability across time, and adolescents' beliefs did not correlate with those of their parents. Our results hold many important take-aways for future research, including that depressed adolescents do not hold biological causal beliefs at the expense of other explanations—as assumed by some existing research on biomedical explanations for depression—but rather tend to hold multiple causal beliefs simultaneously.
doi:10.31234/ fatcat:b36ybtyipzfb5jabntaxa7n2xi