With the global and local incidence rates of depression and suicide being rapidly on the rise, efforts in research to identify casual factors which increase an individual’s vulnerability to depression have been widely undertaken. However, in South Africa there still remains a paucity of information in the area of cognitive-vulnerability or diathesis to depression. The present study investigated whether negative life events (i.e., stress) interact with negative cognitive style (i.e., hopelessness) to predict depressive symptoms in South African university students. Gender differences in the predictive associations between stress, hopelessness and depression were also included in the analyses. A survey was completed by 304 university students (mean age = 21.66 years; SD = 3.485). The research design is quantitative in nature and took the form of a cross-sectional study. Using path analysis (PA) the findings of this research study indicated that hopelessness moderates the relationship between stress and depression. It was also found that stress and hopelessness were more strongly associated with depression for male students than for female students. Recommendations for future studies and limitations pertaining to the present study are also discussed.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2016.