Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




From an applied perspective, it is useful for clinicians and researchers to know what variables are more likely to be related to depressive symptoms for some groups than for others. From the social-cognitive perspective, symptoms of depression are linked to people's beliefs that they are unable to regulate or control their own functioning. The purpose of the present study was to test social cognitive theory and its claims about self efficacy by examining whether age and sex differences in depression are a function of emotion regulation, emotional self-efficacy and response styles to depression. The results indicated that females had a higher sense of self-efficacy for managing positive emotions and lower self-efficacy for managing negative emotions than did males. Older cohorts had significantly lower depression and rumination scores than college-aged adults and were more efficacious in managing negative emotions. Only emotional self-efficacy for negative emotions, rumination, and distraction explained unique variance in depressive symptoms. The findings from this study offer insight into possible areas for intervention and future research.

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