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The interrelationship of affect, depression, attributional style and imposter phenomenon

Researcher Aurelia Tan

Supervisors Dr Graeme Ditchburn

Date: Completed 2011

Ethics Approval Number: 2010/212

The reformulated learned helplessness model posits that individuals who characteristically attribute bad events to internal, stable and global causes are likely to suffer from depression. However, the nature of the link has not been thoroughly examined. This paper suggests that the Impostor Phenomenon mediates this relationship. A total of 168 students (Mage=27.67, SD = 8.67) from Murdoch University completed an online survey consisting of the modified Attributional Style Questionnaire, the Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale, the DASS–21, and the International version of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. A series of regressions outlined by Baron and Kenny (1986) was employed. Results indicated that the Impostor Phenomenon mediated the relationship between attribution style and depression for both good and bad events. It also demonstrated that a negative attribution style has a direct impact on depression for bad events but not for good events. Clinicians or researchers may consider incorporating these findings into their therapy or formulating new theories on the etiology of depression.