Author(s): Alloy LB, ReillyHarrington NA, Fesco DM, Whitehouse WG
This study examined the interaction of cognitive style (as assessed self-report and information-processing battery) and stressful life events in predicting the clinician-rated depressive and manic symptomatology of participants with Research Diagnostic Criteria lifetime diagnoses of bipolar disorder ( n = 49), unipolar depression ( n = 97), or no lifetime diagnosis ( n = 23). Bipolar and unipolar participants' attributional styles, dysfunctional attitudes, and negative self-referent information processing as assessed at Time 1 interacted significantly with the number of negative life events that occurred between Times 1 and 2 to predict increases in depressive symptoms from Time 1 to Time 2. Within the bipolar group, participants' Time 1 attributional styles and dysfunctional attitudes interacted significantly, and their self-referent information processing interacted marginally, with intervening life events to predict increases in manic symptoms from Time 1 to Time 2. These findings provide support for the applicability of cognitive vulnerability—stress theories of depression to bipolar spectrum disorders.