Cognitive-Affective Pathways to Child Depressive and Anxious Symptoms: Role of Children’s Discipline Attributions

Academic Article


  • Children’s maladaptive cognitive attributions may elicit affective reactions that contribute to depressive and anxious symptoms. This study investigated cognitive-affective pathways in depressive and anxious symptoms in a sample of 110 prepubertal children, evaluating children’s specific appraisals of experiences of parental discipline as well as general attributional style, along with their hopelessness, self-esteem, and shame. Pathways toward depressive and anxious symptoms were tested simultaneously to identify potential unique etiological mechanisms. Results suggested that lower self-esteem strongly contributed to depressive and anxious symptoms, whereas shame related to depression only and hopelessness related to depression only marginally. Additionally, general negative attributional style and low sense of control over discipline related to all three affective elements. Lastly, low sense of discipline control directly predicted depressive symptoms, whereas beliefs that discipline was undeserved directly predicted anxious symptoms. Future work should continue to examine the role of children’s discipline-specific attributions, which appear important in internalizing symptoms.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rodriguez CM; Pu DF; Foiles AR
  • Start Page

  • 163
  • End Page

  • 171
  • Volume

  • 50
  • Issue

  • 1