Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 408–422 | Cite as

Predictors of Attributional Style Change in Children

  • Brandon E. Gibb
  • Lauren B. Alloy
  • Patricia D. Walshaw
  • Jonathan S. Comer
  • Gail H. C. Shen
  • Annette G. Villari

A number of studies have supported the hypothesis that negative attributional styles may confer vulnerability to the development of depression. The goal of this study was to explore factors that may contribute to the development of negative attributional styles in children. As hypothesized, elevated levels of depressive symptoms and hopelessness at the initial assessment predicted negative changes in children's attributional styles over the 6-month follow-up period. In addition, elevated levels of verbal victimization occurring between the 2 assessments, as well as that occurring in the 6 months preceding the initial assessment, prospectively predicted negative changes in children's attributional styles over the follow-up. Further, initial depressive symptoms and verbal victimization during the follow-up continued to significantly predict attributional style change even when the overlap among the predictors was statistically controlled. Contrary to the hypotheses, however, neither parent-reported levels of overall negative life events nor parents’ attributions for their children's events predicted changes in children's attributional styles.


attribution depression hopelessness victimization 



We would like to thank the Philadelphia School District, the principals and teachers of participating schools, and especially the parents and children who participated in this study. Without their help, this project would not have been possible. This project was supported by Grant F31 MH64301 awarded to the first author by the National Institute of Mental Health and was based on a dissertation completed by the first author in partial fulfillment of the Ph.D. degree requirements.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandon E. Gibb
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lauren B. Alloy
    • 2
  • Patricia D. Walshaw
    • 2
  • Jonathan S. Comer
    • 2
  • Gail H. C. Shen
    • 2
  • Annette G. Villari
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBinghamton University (SUNY)BinghamtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology Binghamton University (SUNY)BinghamtonUSA

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