"Thinking Positive" as a Stress Buffer: The Role of Positive Automatic Cognitions in Depression and Happiness


To explore whether positive automatic thoughts (PATs) may function as stress buffers and mood enhancers, this study tested whether PATs and the PATs × Negative Events interaction predicted unique variance in future depression and happiness. The Life Experiences Survey, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Happiness Measures, the Hassles Scale, and both state and trait versions of the Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire and the Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire-Positive were administered to 152 undergraduate volunteers twice, with 6 weeks between testings. PATs predicted happiness, and PATs about social self-worth interacted with negative events to predict depression. For higher levels of such PATs, negative events had a weaker relation to depression.

Publication Title

Journal of Counseling Psychology