Learned Helplessness, Attribution, and Clinical Depression

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To test predictions of learned helplessness theory and attribution theory, depressed and nondepressed subjects were exposed to a word-association task in a skill, chance, or no-instructional-set condition. Subjects were asked to make attributions of success and failure to four factors--ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck--and rate expectancy of success. The predictions of both theories were only partially confirmed. Difficulties relating to the experimental design may account for the failure of nondepressed/skill subjects to show greater expectancy change. As predicted, all subjects in the chance condition displayed similar expectancy changes. Also as predicted, nondepressed subjects did not rate effort as being ... continued below

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v, 60 leaves

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Toppins, John D. December 1977.

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  • Toppins, John D.

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To test predictions of learned helplessness theory and attribution theory, depressed and nondepressed subjects were exposed to a word-association task in a skill, chance, or no-instructional-set condition. Subjects were asked to make attributions of success and failure to four factors--ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck--and rate expectancy of success. The predictions of both theories were only partially confirmed. Difficulties relating to the experimental design may account for the failure of nondepressed/skill subjects to show greater expectancy change. As predicted, all subjects in the chance condition displayed similar expectancy changes. Also as predicted, nondepressed subjects did not rate effort as being the least influential factor. Depressed subjects, however, rated all factors equivalently, instead of rating effort least influential.

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v, 60 leaves

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  • December 1977

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  • May 10, 2015, 6:16 a.m.

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  • June 13, 2016, 7:46 a.m.

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Toppins, John D. Learned Helplessness, Attribution, and Clinical Depression, thesis, December 1977; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc504019/: accessed November 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .