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Negative self-schemas and the onset of depression in women: longitudinal study

  • Jonathan Evans (a1), Jon Heron (a2), Glyn Lewis (a1), Ricardo Araya (a1) and Dieter Wolke (a3)...
Abstract
Background

Beck's cognitive theory of depression has received little empirical support.

Aims

To test whether those with negative self-schemas were at risk of onset of depression.

Method

Data were collected by postal questionnaire from 12003 women recruited during early pregnancy; questionnaires included measures of depressive symptoms and negative self-schemas. Regular questionnaires were sent during pregnancy and following childbirth.

Results

Of 8540 women not depressed when recruited, 8.6% (95% CI 8.0–9.2) became depressed 14 weeks later. Those in the highest tertile for negative self-schema score were more likely to become depressed than those in the lowest tertile (odds ratio 3.04, 95% CI 2.48–3.73). The association remained after adjustment for baseline depressive symptoms and previous depression (OR 1.6, 95% CI1.27–2.02) and was of similar magnitude for onset 3 years later.

Conclusions

Holding a negative self-schema is an independent risk factor for the onset of depression in women. This finding supports a key element of Beck's cognitive theory. Understanding more about how negative self-schemas arise should help inform preventive policies.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Jonathan Evans, Division of Psychiatry, University of Bristol, Cotham House, Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6JL, UK. Tel: 0117 954 6666; fax: 0117 954 6672; e-mail: j.evans@bristol.ac.uk
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Declaration of interest

J. E. has received fees for lecturing from several pharmaceutical companies that market antidepressant medication.

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Negative self-schemas and the onset of depression in women: longitudinal study

  • Jonathan Evans (a1), Jon Heron (a2), Glyn Lewis (a1), Ricardo Araya (a1) and Dieter Wolke (a3)...
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