Learned Helplessness in Children. A Longitudinal Study of Depression, Achievement, and Explanatory Style

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Joan S. Girgus, Martin E.P. Seligman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

324 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this longitudinal study, the depressive symptoms, life events, and explanatory styles of 168 school children were measured five times during the course of 1 year. Measures of school achievement were obtained once during the year. Depressive symptoms and explanatory styles were found to be quite stable over the year. As predicted by the reformulated learned helplessness theory, explanatory style both correlated with concurrent levels of depression and school achievement and predicted later changes in depression during the year. Depression also predicted later explanatory styles. The implications of these results for intervention with children with depressive symptoms or school achievement problems are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-442
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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