B3096 - Does cognitive vulnerability modify the association between stressful life events and future depression - 11/04/2018

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Marcus Munafò | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Miss Sarah Peters, Professor Ian Penton-Voak
Title of project: 
Does cognitive vulnerability modify the association between stressful life events and future depression?
Proposal summary: 

Several studies have found that the experience of stressful life events (ranging from more severe events, such as divorce or bereavement, to daily hassles, such as family-related obligations) can lead to symptoms of depression. However, the impact of these events varies, and not everyone who experiences a stressful event goes on to experience depression. We’re interested in studying whether cognitive vulnerability, the tendency to make negative causal inferences about an event, can explain this difference (i.e., is an effect modifier). That is, the interpretation of the event, rather than exposure to the event alone, may be particularly important for predicting future depression. This study aims to investigate how the impact of stressful events varies between people, and why certain people go on to experience depression while others do not. These findings could inform potential targets for interventions which intend to prevent depressive symptoms.

Impact of research: 
Depression is a common, costly, and life-threatening illness. Understanding the impact of factors such as cognitive vulnerability on established risk factors for depression (such as stressful life events) is relevant to both etiologic models of depression and for the development and evaluation of more targeted interventions. Quick and accessible interventions that target cognitive vulnerability may be useful for treating depression and could be informed by this research.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 9 April, 2018
Epidemiology, Mental health, Statistical methods, Mental health, depression, stressful life events, cognitive vulnerability, cognitive styles