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Försterling, Friedrich and Binser, Martin J. (2002): Depression, School Performance, and the Veridicality of Perceived Grades and Causal Attributions. In: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 10: pp. 1441-1449 [PDF, 121kB]


An external criterion was assessed to test whether depressives have distorted perceptions of covariation information and whether their attributions are consistent with this information. Students’ actual and self-perceived grades, depression status, and attributions for failures were assessed. Furthermore, partici pants estimated average grades. Generally, self-perceived own past grades were inflated. Depressed students and those with low grades distorted their own grades (but not the average grade) more to their favor than individuals low in depression and those with high grades. Depression went along with lower actual grades and with internal, stable, and global failure attributions. Mood differences in attributions were not due to differences in previous grades. Depressed individuals drew (unrealistically) more depressogenic causal inferences when they perceived average grades to be low than when average grades were perceived to be high. However, they (realistically) attributed failure more in a depressogenic fashion than did nondepressives when their own grade history was low.

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