Self-blame and depressive symptoms.J Pers Soc Psychol 1981; 41(2):253-9JP
Are internal attributions for bad events always associated with depression? The depressive symptoms of 87 female undergraduates correlated with blame directed at their own characters. In contrast, blame directed at their own behaviors correlated with lack of depressive symptoms. Behaviorally attributed bad events were seen as more controllable and their causes less stable and less global than were characterologically attributed bad events and their causes. Characterological blame increased with more negative life events during the last year, implying that individuals who blame their character may arrive at this attributional style by a covariation analysis. Finally, characterological blame did not precede the onset of depressive symptoms 6 or 12 weeks later. Thus, characterological blame may be a strong concomitant of depression, but not a cause.