The role of problem orientation cognitive distortions in depression and anxiety intervention for young adolescents

Coralie Wilson, John Bushnell, Debra Rickwood, Peter Caputi, Susan Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Interventions that aim to improve social problem-solving skills can significantly reduce the severity of anxiety and depression symptoms in young people. Anxious and depressed individuals often have a negative orientation to problem solution which acts as a barrier to implementing problem-solving skills. Research with older adults suggests that symptoms impair problem-solving abilities through cognitive processes associated with the development of anxiety and depression. In this study we extend previous investigations by assessing the extent to which specific cognitive distortions and symptoms of anxiety and depression are associated with negative problem orientation (NPO) in a sample of 285 young adults aged 18–25 years. Results found that cognitive distortions and depressive symptoms were strong predictors in a regression model that explained approximately half of the variance in NPO. Results also found that the relationship between cognitive distortions and NPO was strengthened as depressive symptoms became more intense. The distortion ‘You think you know what the future will bring; you expect disaster and gloom’ had the strongest individual association with NPO and depressive symptoms. Implications for enriching prevention and early intervention initiatives for young adults are discussed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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