The role of depression, attributions, and sex in relation to negative arousal in problematic social situations

James F. Calhoun1, Stephen Stafford1, Robert Moss1
1University of Georgia, United States
Cite this article:  Calhoun, J. F., Stafford, S., & Moss, R. (1982). The role of depression, attributions, and sex in relation to negative arousal in problematic social situations. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 10(1), 41-46.

Volume 10 Issue 1 | e361 | Published: February 1982 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1982.10.1.41

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The present study was designed to evaluate the role of depression, internal/external attributions and sex differences in relation to reported negative arousal in problematic social situations. A group of 215 undergraduate psychology students were divided into depressed (n = 30) and nondepressed (n = 185) groups on the basis of results on the Beck Depression Inventory. Each participant was presented a series of 12 brief vignettes depicting potentially problematic social situations. After reading each vignette, participants rated them as to internal/external causality and reported arousal reactions along three dimensions (i.e. very uptight/very relaxed, very displeased/very pleased, and very uncomfortable/very comfortable). Results failed to find a relationship between depression and negative arousal in problematic social situations. However, findings did support the proposition that individuals who attributed causality to internal factors in problematic social situations tend to experience more negative arousal than do individuals who attribute causality to external factors. Finally, some support for sex differences in reported arousal was found with females experiencing more negative arousal than males. The need for further research on the relationship of each of these areas to negative arousal is discussed.
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