Overview

Among the various psychological theories of depression, cognitive models continue to be informed by empirical tests of both the theoretical framework and clinical outcomes associated with this approach (Clark et al., 1999). Several scholarly reviews (Clark et al., 1999; Coyne&Gotlib, 1983;Haagaetal., 1991;Kwon&Oei, 1994; Teasdale, 1983)suggest consistent support for important aspects of the model, and there is general agreement that cognitive therapy is an effective treatment for depression, with an efficacy that equals that of antidepressant pharmacotherapy (Clark et al., 1999; DeRubeis & Crits-Cristoph, 1998; Dobson, 1989; Robinson et al., 1990). Our aim in this chapter is to describe the current cognitive model of depression and the evidence that supports this theoretical framework. We will focus on a number of important research questions within the cognitive model, as well as point to patterns of evidence identified in previous reviews (e.g., Clark et al., 1999; Haaga et al., 1991). Beyond examining the evidence, we will also point out areas where evidence is weak or contradictory. Thus, our aim is to capture the current state of the field, but also to suggest important future directions and unresolved issues.

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