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"Did I bring it on myself?" An exploratory study of the beliefs that adolescents referred to mental health services have about the causes of their depression

Midgley, N., Parkinson, S., Holmes, J., Stapley, E., Eatough, V. and Target, M. (2017). "Did I bring it on myself?" An exploratory study of the beliefs that adolescents referred to mental health services have about the causes of their depression. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 26(1), pp. 25-34. doi: 10.1007/s00787-016-0868-8

Abstract

The causal beliefs which adults have regarding their mental health difficulties have been linked to help-seeking behaviour, treatment preferences, and the outcome of therapy; yet, the topic remains a relatively unexplored one in the adolescent literature. This exploratory study aims to explore the causal beliefs regarding depression among a sample of clinically referred adolescents. Seventy seven adolescents, aged between 11 and 17, all diagnosed with moderate to severe depression, were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule, at the beginning of their participation in a randomised controlled trial. Data were analysed qualitatively using framework analysis. The study identified three themes related to causal beliefs: (1) bewilderment about why they were depressed; (2) depression as a result of rejection, victimisation, and stress; and (3) something inside is to blame. Although some adolescents struggled to identify the causes of their depression, many identified stressful life experiences as the cause of their current depression. They also tended to emphasise their own negative ways of interpreting those events, and some believed that their depression was caused by something inside them. Adolescents’ causal beliefs are likely to have implications for the way they seek help and engage in treatment, making it important to understand how adolescents understand their difficulties.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher Keywords: Adolescence, Depression, Qualitative, Causal beliefs, Understanding
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Departments: School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering > Computer Science > Human Computer Interaction Design
Date Deposited: 31 May 2019 12:14
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/22261
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