Locus of Control and Negative Cognitive Styles in Adolescence as Risk Factors for Depression Onset in Young Adulthood: Findings From a Prospective Birth Cohort Study

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Abstract

Whilst previous observational studies have linked negative thought processes such as an external locus of control and holding negative cognitive styles with depression, the directionality of these associations and the potential role that these factors play in the transition to adulthood and parenthood has not yet been investigated. This study examined the association between locus of control and negative cognitive styles in adolescence and probable depression in young adulthood and whether parenthood moderated these associations. Using a UK prospective population-based birth cohort study: the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), we examined the association between external locus of control and negative cognitive styles in adolescence with odds of depression in 4,301 young adults using logistic regression models unadjusted and adjusted for potential confounding factors. Interaction terms were employed to examine whether parenthood (i.e., having become a parent or not) moderated these associations. Over 20% of young adults in our sample were at or above the clinical threshold indicating probable depression. For each standard deviation (SD) increase in external locus of control in adolescence, there was a 19% (95% CI: 8–32%) higher odds of having probable depression in young adulthood, after adjusting for various confounding factors including baseline mood and different demographic and life events variables. Similarly, for each SD increase in negative cognitive styles in adolescence, there was a 29% (95% CI: 16–44%) higher odds of having probable depression in the adjusted model. We found little evidence that parenthood status moderated the relationship between external locus of control or negative cognitive styles in adolescence and probable depression following adjustment for confounding factors. Effect estimates were comparable when performed in the complete case dataset. These findings suggest that having an external locus of control and holding negative cognitive styles in mid- to late adolescence is associated with an increased likelihood of probable depression in young adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Article number599240
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are extremely grateful to all the families who took part in this study, the midwives for their help in recruiting them, and the whole ALSPAC team, which includes interviewers, computer and laboratory technicians, clerical workers, research scientists, volunteers, managers, receptionists, and nurses. Funding. The UK Medical Research Council and Wellcome (Grant ref: 217065/Z/19/Z) and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC. This publication is the work of the authors and IC will serve as guarantors for the contents of this paper. This work was supported by European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (grant FP/2007-2013), European Research Council Grant Agreements (grants 758813; MHINT). DS, DL, KT, and RP work in or are affiliated with a unit that receives funding from the University of Bristol and UK Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00011/3 and MC_UU_00011/6). DL is an NIHR Senior Investigator (NF-0616-10102). A comprehensive list of grants funding is available on the ALSPAC website (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/alspac/external/documents/grant-acknowledgments.pdf); This research was specifically funded by Wellcome Trust 08426812/Z/07/Z, NIH 5R01MH073842- 04, MRC MR/M006727/1, Wellcome Trust and MRC 102215/2/13/2, Wellcome Trust and MRC 102215/Z/13/Z, Wellcome Trust and MRC 092731, Wellcome Trust and MRC 092731.

Funding Information:
The UK Medical Research Council and Wellcome (Grant ref: 217065/Z/19/Z) and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC. This publication is the work of the authors and IC will serve as guarantors for the contents of this paper. This work was supported by European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (grant FP/2007-2013), European Research Council Grant Agreements (grants 758813; MHINT). DS, DL, KT, and RP work in or are affiliated with a unit that receives funding from the University of Bristol and UK Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00011/3 and MC_UU_00011/6). DL is an NIHR Senior Investigator (NF-0616-10102). A comprehensive list of grants funding is available on the ALSPAC website (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/alspac/ external/documents/grant-acknowledgments.pdf); This research was specifically funded by Wellcome Trust 08426812/Z/07/Z, NIH 5R01MH073842-04, MRC MR/M006727/1, Wellcome

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Costantini, Kwong, Smith, Lewcock, Lawlor, Moran, Tilling, Golding and Pearson.

Keywords

  • Avon Longitudinal Study of Parent and Children (ALSPAC)
  • locus of control
  • negative cognitive styles
  • parenthood
  • young adulthood
  • depression
  • cohort study

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