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Cognitive self-statements in depression: Development of an automatic thoughts questionnaire

Author(s): Hollon SD, Kendall PC

Abstract

A 30-item questionnaire was devised to measure the frequency of occurrence of automatic negative thoughts (negative self-statements)associated with depression. Male and female undergraduates were asked to recall dysphoric experiences and to report associated cognitions. One hundred representative cognitions were selected and administered to a second sample, along with the MMPI D scale and the Beck Depression Inventory. Thirty items discriminating between criterion groups of psychometrically depressed and nondepressed subjects were identified. The resultant 30-item automatic thoughts questionnaire (ATQ-30)was cross-validated and found to significantly discriminate psychometrically depressed from nondepressed criterion groups. No differences were found between males and females on the measure. Factor analysis indicated a four-factor solution, with a large first factor reflecting Personal Maladjustment, a second factor indicative of Negative Self-Concept and Negative Expectations, and two lesser factors. The ATQ-30 may provide a means of testing basic theory relating cognitive content to behavioral and affective processes and assessing change in cognitions associated with experimental manipulation or psychotherapeutic intervention.

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