Masters Thesis

The Effects of Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies and Perceived Stress Levels on the Relationship between Stressful Life Events and Depressive Symptoms

Previous research has found a consistent association between stressful life events and depressive symptoms. However, it is not well understood why some individuals are more vulnerable to depressive symptoms following a stressful life event than others. The present study addressed this gap through the examination of negative mood regulation expectancies and perceived stress levels as potential moderators of this relationship. One hundred and thirty-five students at California State University, Fullerton completed self-report questionnaires assessing a history of stressful life events, negative mood regulation expectancies, perceived stress levels, and depressive symptoms. The main effect of stressful life events on depression, as well as moderating effects of negative mood regulation expectancies and perceived stress levels, were tested through hierarchical multiple regression. Controlling for the effect of age, stressful life events were not significantly associated with depressive symptoms, though their effects approached significance. Further, also controlling for the effect of age, negative mood regulation expectancies and perceived stress levels did not moderate the relationship trend between stressful life events and depressive symptoms. However, negative mood regulation expectancies and perceived stress levels directly predicted depressive symptoms. The findings from this study suggest that, regardless of stressful life event histories, targeting levels of negative mood regulation expectancies and perceived stress may be important in clinical interventions for college students with depression.

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