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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1986 Aug;51(2):435-42.

Learned helplessness in children: a longitudinal study of depression, achievement, and explanatory style.


In this longitudinal study, the depressive symptoms, life events, and explanatory styles of 168 school children were measured five times during the course of 1 year. Measures of school achievement were obtained once during the year. Depressive symptoms and explanatory styles were found to be quite stable over the year. As predicted by the reformulated learned helplessness theory, explanatory style both correlated with concurrent levels of depression and school achievement and predicted later changes in depression during the year. Depression also predicted later explanatory styles. The implications of these results for intervention with children with depressive symptoms or school achievement problems are discussed.

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