This study examined effortful cognitive skills and underlying maladaptive beliefs among patients treated with cognitive therapy (CT) for depression. Depressed patients (n=44) completed cognitive measures before and after 16 weeks of CT. Measures included an assessment of CT skills (Ways of Responding Scale; WOR), an implicit test of maladaptive beliefs (Implicit Association Test; IAT), and a self-report questionnaire of maladaptive beliefs (Dysfunctional Attitude Scale; DAS). A matched sample of never-depressed participants (n=44) also completed study measures. Prior to treatment, depressed patients endorsed significantly more undesirable cognitions on the WOR, IAT, and DAS compared with never-depressed participants. Patients displayed improvement on the WOR and DAS over the course of treatment, but showed no change on the IAT. Additionally, improvements on the WOR and DAS were each related to greater reductions in depressive symptoms. Results suggest that the degree of symptom reduction among patients participating in CT is related to changes in patients" acquisition of coping skills requiring deliberate efforts and reflective thought, but not related to reduced endorsement of implicitly assessed maladaptive beliefs.
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