Dysfunctional Cognitions Associated With Adolescent Depression: Findings Across Special Populations

John W. Maag, John T. Behrens, Samuel A. DiGangi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


In this study, we investigated the prevalence of dysfunctional cognitive self-statements across three adolescent populations in two conditions: learning-disabled, seriously emotionally disturbed, and nonhandicapped students enrolled in public school and incarcerated in facilities for juvenile delinquents. Reliability scores for the Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire were calculated and validated across populations. We computed multivariate analysis of variance to examine differences in reported depressive symptomatology and related dysfunctional cognitions. Females with learning disabilities or emotional disturbance scored higher on both measures than their nonhandicapped peers, whereas males with learning disabilities or emotional disturbance reported less depressive symptomatology than their nonhandicapped counterparts. Differences in levels of depressive symptomatology between incarcerated and public school adolescents differed as a function of label. We discuss issues related to differences in profiles of depression and dysfunctional self-statements across populations and suggest further research to identify subtypes of depression in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-47
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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