Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors
psychology, hypomania, cognitive vulnerabilities, positive life events, dysfunctional attitudes, bipolar, college students
The current thesis adds to the literature on the interaction of cognitive vulnerability, in particular dysfunctional attitudes, and negative life events in predicting hypomanic symptoms in a sample of college-aged students. Consistent with Beck’s cognitive model, prior work has examined the cognitive vulnerability-stress interaction in predicting depression and depressive symptoms in college students. This study extends the model to predicting hypomania symptoms. Data were collected in a larger study, where 355 undergraduate students, aged 18 years and older, were evaluated on mood, stressful life events in the past year, and several cognitive vulnerabilities to depression at the beginning of the semester. The sample was reassessed at the end of the semester on mood and stressful life events in the interim. This study tested the hypothesis that baseline Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale (DAS) score would interact with both negative and positive life events over the semester to predict growth in hypomania symptoms over the semester. Hypomania was assessed through the Altman Self-Rating Mania Scale (ARMS). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted with end of semester ARMS score as the outcome and baseline DAS, negative (positive) life events in the interim, and the interaction term as predictors, after controlling for baseline ARMS score and negative (positive) life events in the past year. Dysfunctional attitudes did not interact with either negative or positive life events in the interim to predict growth in hypomania symptoms over the semester. There was a significant predictive effect of positive life events, whereby greater positive life events over the semester was associated with increased hypomania symptoms over the semester. These results do not support the cognitive vulnerability-stress model for hypomanic symptoms, as tested using these methods in this sample. This study is limited by the relatively short follow-up interval of approximately 4-months, which restricted the time for significant negative and positive life events to develop. These results provide evidence that perceived impact from positive life events might confer risk for increased hypomanic symptoms over a semester in college students, which can inform prevention efforts for students.
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Juntunen, Helena Meeri, "Test of the Cognitive Vulnerability-Stress Model in Predicting Hypomanic Symptoms in College Students" (2021). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 413.