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Specificity of Reference Patterns in Depressive Thinking: Agency and Object Roles in Self-Representation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephen Barton


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This study investigated A. T. Beck's (1970) negative cognitive triad as a model of depressive thinking. A mixed clinical sample ( N = 126) completed the Sentence Completion Test for Depression (SCD) and self-report measures of depression and anxiety. Two reference patterns were tested: agency roles, people who are the source of thoughts, feelings, and actions (self and others); and object roles, points of reference location (self, other, world, future, and past). Cognitive effects were highly specific to depression. With self in agent role, significant correlations were observed with negative self, world, and future references but not with other people or the past. With others in agent role, only negative self references were correlated with depression (e.g., "Some people would not ... put me out if I was on fire"), suggesting an interpersonal extension to the negative cognitive triad.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barton SB, Morley SJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Year: 1999

Volume: 108

Issue: 4

Pages: 655-661

Print publication date: 01/11/1999

ISSN (print): 0021-843X

ISSN (electronic): 1939-1846

Publisher: American Psychological Association


DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.108.4.655


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