Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Yaroslavsky, Ilya

Subject Headings

Psychology

Abstract

While depression is a cross-cultural phenomenon, much of the literature that examines risk factors and mechanisms for its occurrence is examined from a Western perspective. As cultural background and level of acculturation to the host culture is known to shape the expression of depressive disorders, as well as their risk factors, this study examined whether cultural factors influence the relationship between two cognitive emotion regulation processes and depression symptoms. Specifically, this study examined whether the relationship between internal, stable, and global causal attributions for negative events (negative attributional style) and depression is mediated by one’s tendency to reframe the meaning of event to alter one’s emotional experience (reappraisal), and whether the effects of negative attributional styles vary as a function of cultural background and level of acculturation. Therefore, the relationships between negative attributional style, reappraisal, and depression may differ between individualistic US culture, and individuals hailing from a collectivistic Arab heritage. Participants (N = 86) completed measures of Arab cultural identity, negative attributional style, reappraisal, and depression symptoms. Mediation and mediated-moderated analyses were used to examine these relationships. While results showed that the effects of negative attributional style on depression was mediated by reappraisal, the direction of the effect was in the opposite direction than hypothesized: negative attributional styles predicted less reappraisal. Cultural background and acculturation levels were unrelated to variables of interest and did not moderate model effects. Findings provide clarification on how emotion regulation efforts may unfold after an initial attribution is made.

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