Reducing negative thinking and depressive symptoms in college women

Ann R. Peden, Lynne A. Hall, Mary Kay Rayens, Lora L. Beebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although cognitive-behavioral interventions have been successful in treating depression, no studies were found that focused solely on reducing negative thinking via group intervention as a means of preventing depression in at-risk groups. The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to test the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral group intervention in reducing depressive symptoms, decreasing negative thinking, and enhancing self-esteem in young women at risk for depression. Design: A randomized controlled trial with 92 college women ages 18 to 24 who were at risk for depression was conducted. Method: Participants were randomly assigned to either the control or experimental group. The experimental group participated in a 6-week cognitive-behavioral group intervention. Data on self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and negative thinking were collected via self-report questionnaires from control and experimental groups at baseline, 1 month after the intervention, and at 6-month follow-up. Data were analyzed using mixed-model methodology and the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel chi-square test. Findings: Compared to those in the control group, women who received the intervention had a greater decrease in depressive symptoms and negative thinking and a greater increase in self-esteem, and these beneficial effects were maintained over 6-months. Conclusions: The findings document the effectiveness of this cognitive-behavioral group intervention and indicate empirical support for the beneficial effects of reducing negative thinking by the use of affirmations and thought-stopping techniques on women's mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


  • College women
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Negative thinking
  • Self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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