The reformulated learned helplessness model proposes that people who tend to make internal, stable, and global attributions in response to uncontrollable aversive events are more likely to develop depression. The present study sought to investigate the nature of the relationship between attributional style and depression in a male prison sample. One hundred and one adult male prisoners from four medium security prisons in Ireland completed the Attributional Style Questionnaire and measures of depression (BDI-II) and anxiety (BAI). Severity of self-reported depressive symptoms in the present sample was comparable to other prison and clinical samples, but higher than community samples. Participants were more severely affected by depressive symptoms than anxiety. The original attributional dimensions (i.e. internal, stable, and global) predicted a significant amount of variance in depression, but the model was not significant after controlling for anxiety. A subsequent regression model, comprising attributional dimensions for both negative events and positive events including a measure of 'uncontrollability', accounted for 35% of the variance in depression and the model retained significance while controlling for anxiety. An attributional model of depression may be relevant to the prison population and could provide a valid insight into the development and treatment of depressive symptoms in prisoners. The findings are interpreted in relation to previous research and implications for theory, clinical practice, and rehabilitation are discussed.
National University of Ireland Galway ->