Associations between interpretation bias and depression in adolescents

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Interpretation biases have been shown to play a role in adult depression and are a target in cognitive behavioural therapy. Adolescence is a key risk period for the development of depression and a period of rapid cognitive and emotional development but little research has investigated the relationship between interpretation biases and depression in adolescents. This study adapted a measure of interpretation bias, the Ambiguous Scenarios Test for Depression, for adolescents and evaluated its reliability and validity. A community sample of 206 young people aged 12 to 18 years completed a validated measure of depression symptoms (Mood and Feelings Questionnaires) and the adapted Ambiguous Scenarios Test. The Ambiguous Scenarios Test for Depression in Adolescents had good internal consistency and split half reliability. Depression symptoms were associated with participants? ratings of the valence of ambiguous situations and with interpretation biases. Importantly, symptoms of depression and anxiety were independently associated with interpretation bias. This research suggests that interpretation biases can be measured in this age group, that negative interpretation biases exist in adolescents and that these are associated with depression symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-583
Number of pages7
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number4
Early online date9 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

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