Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


school of Psychology


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Elizabeth Kaczmarek


Recent research has demonstrated that exposure to prevention programs can decrease the incidence of depressive symptomatology in children. Universal prevention programs for children younger than 10 years of age are scarce. The current study examined the effectiveness of an eight week cognitive-behavioural prevention program in decreasing depressive symptoms and anxiety and, promoting a more optimistic explanatory style in children aged 8 to 11 years. Effectiveness of the program for children with initially low or high scores based on the pre-intervention median score of the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI; Kovacs, 1992) scores was also examined. Children were matched on grade and initial CDI score. Forty four children were allocated to the experimental group and participated in the program and 47 children were allocated to the wait-list control group. Comparisons of the experimental and control groups CDI, Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale (Reynolds & Richmond, 2000) and Children's Attributional Style Questionnaire (Seligman et al., 1984) scores at post intervention and the six months follow-up found no significant differences. Additionally no significant differences were found between the initially high and low symptomatic children across time. It was concluded that the current program had little effect in preventing depressive symptoms in children when applied at an universal level. Future research on the Positive Thinking program will clarify the effectiveness of the current program in decreasing depressive symptoms in children.