Social problem solving as a moderating variable between negative life stress and depressive symptoms

Arthur M. Nezu, Christine M. Nezu, Lisa Saraydarian, Kathleen Kalmar, George F. Ronan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The present study sought to investigate the moderating function that social problem-solving effectiveness serves in relation to negative stressful life events and depressive symptomatology. It was also hypothesized that knowledge of problem solving would improve upon the prediction of level of depressive symptoms beyond the assessment of stressful events. Results involving 462 undergraduate students provide support for both predictions. Specifically, findings from a multiple regression analysis indicated that (1) differences in reported depressive mood between subjects under high and low stress levels were minimal for individuals characterized as effective problem-solvers, relative to those persons with problem-solving scores reflective of ineffective problem solving; and (2) assessment of problem-solving scores and their interaction with stress level provided for an additional three times the amount of explained variance in predicting depression scores beyond life stress scores. Additionally, a cross-validation of the regression analysis was conducted and found to result in a minimal amount of shrinkage that could be due to samplespecific characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-498
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1986


  • depression
  • life stress
  • social problem solving


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