Predictors of depression in multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury
Shnek, Zachary M.
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The relationships among learned helplessness, cognitive distortions, self-efficacy and depression were examined using population samples of 80 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and 80 spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. The study tested three hypotheses. The first hypothesis stated that learned helplessness, cognitive distortions, and self-efficacy would predict depression in a sample of MS and SCI patients. The second hypothesis stated that MS patients would exhibit greater levels of learned helplessness, cognitive distortions, and depression, and lower levels of self-efficacy than SCI patients. The third hypothesis stated that differences in depression between the two groups of MS and SCI patients would be accounted for by differences in learned helplessness, cognitive distortions, and self-efficacy.;Results indicated that hypothesis I was partially supported as helplessness and self-efficacy predicted depression for both the MS and SCI groups when all of the psychological variables were analyzed simultaneously, after controlling for the effects of demographic and disease-related variables. Cognitive distortions did not predict depression in either group once helplessness and self-efficacy were controlled for. However, helplessness played a more prominent role in predicting depression for the MS group, whereas self-efficacy and helplessness made almost the same contributions toward predicting depression for the SCI group.;Hypothesis II was partially supported as a significant group effect was found when all of the psychological variables were examined after controlling for confounding variables. Significant differences between the MS and SCI groups were found on depression, helplessness, and self-efficacy. The MS group exhibited greater levels of depression and helplessness, and lower levels of self efficacy than the SCI group.;Hypothesis III was partially supported as differences between the MS and SCI groups on depression were explained by the effects of helplessness and self-efficacy. Cognitive distortions did not have any significant effect once helplessness and self-efficacy were controlled for. Results of the present study emphasized the potential importance of helplessness and self-efficacy in understanding the emotional impact of both MS and SCI on affected individuals. Implications of these findings as well as issues for future research were discussed.