Reinforcement sensitivity, cognitive biases, stressful life events, and depression symptoms

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Natalie E. Hundt (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Rosemery Nelson-Gray

Abstract: The current study examines the interrelationships of personality, cognitive biases, and stressful life events in the prediction of depression. Previous research has indicated that personality factors of Gray's Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (Gray & McNaughton, 2000), the Behavioral Inhibition System and the Behavioral Approach System, predict concurrent and future depression symptoms. Other lines of research indicate that cognitive biases including negative cognitive content such as dysfunctional thoughts and negative cognitive processes such as attention and memory biases predict depression symptoms when measured after a negative mood prime or under cognitive load (Alloy & Abramson, 1999; Rude, Covich, Jarrold, Hedlund, & Zentner, 2001; Wenzlaff, Rude, Taylor, Stultz, & Sweatt, 2001). Finally, stressful life events predict the onset of depression symptoms (Miller & Rahe, 1997; Paykel, 2003; Tennant, 2002). However, little research examines the relationship among these factors, especially the relationship between personality and cognitive biases. The current study found that high BIS, more stressful life events, and more negative and fewer positive automatic thoughts are associated with greater depression symptoms. BIS was related to automatic thoughts but had only very minimal associations with attention and memory biases.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Attention Bias, Cognitive Biases, Depression, Memory Bias, Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory, Stressful Life Events
Depression, Mental $x Etiology
Stress (Psychology)
Depression, Mental $x Physiological aspects

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