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J Nurs Scholarsh. 2000;32(2):145-51.

Reducing negative thinking and depressive symptoms in college women.

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College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536-0232, USA.



Although cognitive-behavioral interventions have been successful in treating depression, no studies were found that focused solely on reducing negative thinking via group intervention as a means of preventing depression in at-risk groups. The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to test the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral group intervention in reducing depressive symptoms, decreasing negative thinking, and enhancing self-esteem in young women at risk for depression.


A randomized controlled trial with 92 college women ages 18 to 24 who were at risk for depression was conducted.


Participants were randomly assigned to either the control or experimental group. The experimental group participated in a 6-week cognitive-behavioral group intervention. Data on self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and negative thinking were collected via self-report questionnaires from control and experimental groups at baseline, 1 month after the intervention, and at 6-month follow-up. Data were analyzed using mixed-model methodology and the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel chi-square test.


Compared to those in the control group, women who received the intervention had a greater decrease in depressive symptoms and negative thinking and a greater increase in self-esteem, and these beneficial effects were maintained over 6-months.


The findings document the effectiveness of this cognitive-behavioral group intervention and indicate empirical support for the beneficial effects of reducing negative thinking by the use of affirmations and thought-stopping techniques on women's mental health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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