International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 8 Num. 2 - June 2008


Depressiogenic Cognition and Insecure Attachment: A Motivational Hypothesis

Volume 8 Num. 2 - June 2008 - Pages 157-170


Antigonos Sochos , Assi Tsalta


A number of studies suggest that dysfunctional and depressiogenic cognitive styles have
their origin in insecure attachment relationships between child and caregiver and may be
further consolidated in unsupportive adult relationships. A cross-sectional study was conducted
to identify potential associations among preoccupied and fearful attachment styles, recollections
of parental caregiving, and three types of dysfunctional cognition. The findings confirmed
the hypotheses that preoccupied and fearful attachment in adult relationships, as well as
problematic caregiving in childhood, were associated with depressiogenic and other
dysfunctional cognition, most notably generalisation. A motivational hypothesis of cognitive
dysfunction is discussed: generalisation may constitute a sub-optimal mechanism of achieving
stability in a precarious attachment representation at the cost of increasing vulnerability to

Key words:

attachment, depressiogenic cognition, generalisation, preoccupied, fearful.

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