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Research Article Open Access
Background: Addressing one’s metacognitive beliefs is a relatively new, yet promising approach in the treatment of adolescent depression. However, multiple aspects of metacognition can be found in cognitive measures that were created prior to this recent focus. Objectives: The current study leveraged data collected from the Oregon Adolescent Depression Project (OADP) to address a series of questions regarding the associations between metacognitions and adolescent depression. Methods: Participants included 1,709 community-residing adolescents who were diagnostically assessed on four occasions between the ages of 16 and 30. A construct of metacognition was developed from the battery of assessments in the OADP, following the model established by pioneering metacognitive researcher Adrian Wells. Confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated an acceptable model fit of a four-indicant metacognition construct based on four measures that assessed worry, self-consciousness, self-reinforcement, and mastery. Results: The metacognition construct was highly correlated with concurrent depression symptoms, with significantly greater associations for female versus male adolescents. Conversely, higher levels of dysfunctional metacognitions in adolescence were predictive of a first incidence of major depressive disorder in emerging adulthood for male but not for female adolescents. Conclusion: Study findings suggest that therapies that address metacognitive beliefs may be particularly effective in treating depression, especially for female adolescents. In addition, this study indicates metacognition might act as a key marker for identifying youth at risk for the onset of major depressive disorder in emerging adulthood, especially amongst male adolescents.
Metacognition, Rumination, Worry, Adolescent, Depression., Neurodegenerative disease, Brain Disorders