David A Cole

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Michigan, United States

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Publications (94)390.36 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present a revision of latent state-trait (LST-R) theory with new definitions of states and traits. This theory applies whenever we study the consistency of behavior, its variability, and its change over time. States and traits are defined in terms of probability theory. This allows for a seamless transition from theory to statistical modeling of empirical data. LST-R theory not only gives insights into the nature of latent variables but it also takes into account four fundamental facts: Observations are fallible, they never happen in a situational vacuum, they are always made using a specific method of observations, and there is no person without a past. Although the first fact necessitates considering measurement error, the second fact requires allowances for situational fluctuations. The third fact implies that, in the first place, states and traits are method specific. Furthermore, compared to the previous version of LST theory (see, e.g., Steyer et al. 1992, 1999), our revision is based on the notion of a person-at-time-t. The new definitions in LST-R theory have far-reaching implications that not only concern the properties of states, traits, and the associated concepts of measurement errors and state residuals, but also are related to the analysis of states and traits in longitudinal observational and intervention studies. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology Volume 11 is March 28, 2015. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
    Annual Review of Clinical Psychology 07/2014; · 12.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The link between the experience of peer victimization (PV) and future psychological maladjustment has been consistently documented; however, little is known about intermediary cognitive processes that underlie this relation or how these processes vary across childhood. The present study examined the prospective relations between physical and relational PV and the development of negative and positive automatic thoughts and self-cognitions. Self-reports of cognitions and peer nomination measures of victimization were obtained from 1,242 children and young adolescents (Grades 3 through 6) in a two-wave longitudinal study. The results revealed that PV predicted significant increases in negative views of the self, world, and future and decreases in self-perceived competence for girls under 11 years of age, with the effect being stronger for younger girls. PV was not significantly associated with changes in positive or negative self-cognitions for older girls or for boys of any age. These findings support the hypothesis that PV may be linked to future psychopathology through its influence on self-cognitions, but only for girls.
    Development and Psychopathology 06/2014; · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Latent growth curve models (LGCMs) are widely used methods for analyzing change in psychology and the social sciences. To date, most applications use first-order (single-indicator) LGCMs. These models have several limitations that can be overcome with multiple-indicator LGCMs. Currently, almost all multiple-indicator applications use the so-called second-order growth model (SGM; McArdle, 1988). In this article, we review the SGM and discuss 2 alternative, but less well-known, multiple-indicator LGCMs that overcome some of the limitations of the SGM: the generalized second-order growth model (GSGM) and the indicator-specific growth model (ISGM). In contrast to the SGM, the GSGM does not involve a proportionality constraint on the ratio of general to specific variance. The ISGM allows researchers to model indicator-specific growth. Both of these alternative models allow testing measurement invariance across time for state-variability components. We also present an empirical application regarding changes in self-reported levels of anxiety and discuss implications of the differences between the 3 models for applied research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Psychological Methods 06/2014; · 4.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prior research has shown cognitive reactivity to be a diathesis for depression. Seeking evidence for the developmental origins of such diatheses, the current study examined peer victimization and harsh parenting as developmental correlates of cognitive reactivity in 571 children and adolescents (ages 8-13 years). Four major findings emerged. First, a new method for assessing cognitive reactivity in children and adolescents showed significant reliability and demonstrated construct validity vis-à-vis its relation to depression. Second, history of more severe peer victimization was significantly related to cognitive reactivity, with verbal victimization being more strongly tied to cognitive reactivity than other subtypes of peer victimization. Third, harsh parenting was also significantly related to cognitive reactivity. Fourth, both peer victimization and harsh parenting made unique statistical contributions to cognitive reactivity, after controlling for the effects of the other. Taken together, these findings provide preliminary support for a developmental model pertaining to origins of cognitive reactivity in children and adolescents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Journal of abnormal psychology. 05/2014; 123(2):336-349.
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    ABSTRACT: Researchers analyzing longitudinal data often want to find out whether the process they study is characterized by (1) short-term state variability, (2) long-term trait change, or (3) a combination of state variability and trait change. Classical latent state-trait (LST) models are designed to measure reversible state variability around a fixed set-point or trait, whereas latent growth curve (LGC) models focus on long-lasting and often irreversible trait changes. In the present article, we contrast LST and LGC models from the perspective of measurement invariance testing. We show that establishing a pure state-variability process requires (1) the inclusion of a mean structure and (2) establishing strong factorial invariance in LST analyses. Analytical derivations and simulations demonstrate that LST models with noninvariant parameters can mask the fact that a trait-change or hybrid process has generated the data. Furthermore, the inappropriate application of LST models to trait change or hybrid data can lead to bias in the estimates of consistency and occasion specificity, which are typically of key interest in LST analyses. Four tips for the proper application of LST models are provided.
    Behavior Research Methods 03/2014; · 2.12 Impact Factor
  • David A Cole, Kristopher J Preacher
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    ABSTRACT: Despite clear evidence that manifest variable path analysis requires highly reliable measures, path analyses with fallible measures are commonplace even in premier journals. Using fallible measures in path analysis can cause several serious problems: (a) As measurement error pervades a given data set, many path coefficients may be either over- or underestimated. (b) Extensive measurement error diminishes power and can prevent invalid models from being rejected. (c) Even a little measurement error can cause valid models to appear invalid. (d) Differential measurement error in various parts of a model can change the substantive conclusions that derive from path analysis. (e) All of these problems become increasingly serious and intractable as models become more complex. Methods to prevent and correct these problems are reviewed. The conclusion is that researchers should use more reliable measures (or correct for measurement error in the measures they do use), obtain multiple measures for use in latent variable modeling, and test simpler models containing fewer variables. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Psychological Methods 09/2013; · 4.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous theory and research suggest that childhood experiences are more likely to generate depressive self-schemas when they focus attention on negative information about oneself, generate strong negative affect, and are repetitive or chronic. Persistent peer victimization meets these criteria. In the current study, 214 youths (112 females) with empirically-validated histories of high or low peer victimization completed self-report measures of negative and positive self-cognitions as well as incidental recall and recognition tests following a self-referent encoding task. Results supported the hypothesis that depressive self-schemas are associated with peer victimization. Specifically, peer victimization was associated with stronger negative self-cognitions, weaker positive self-cognitions, and an elimination of the normative memorial bias for recall of positive self-referential words. Effects were stronger for relational and verbal victimization compared to physical victimization. Support accrues to a model about the social-developmental origins of cognitive diatheses for depression.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 07/2013; · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cohen and Wills (Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A., 1985, Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310-357) described two broad models whereby social support could mitigate the deleterious effects of stress on health: a main effect model and stress-buffering model. A specific application of these models was tested in a three-wave, multimethod study of 1888 children to assess ways parental support (social support) mitigates the effects of peer victimization (stress) on children's depressive symptoms and depression-related cognitions (health-related outcomes). Results revealed that (a) both supportive parenting and peer victimization had main effects on depressive symptoms and cognitions; (b) supportive parenting and peer victimization did not interact in the prediction of depressive thoughts and symptoms; (c) these results generalized across age and gender; and (d) increases in depressive symptoms were related to later reduction of supportive parenting and later increase in peer victimization. Although supportive parenting did not moderate the adverse outcomes associated with peer victimization, results show that its main effect can counterbalance or offset these effects to some degree. Implications for practice and future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Journal of Abnormal Psychology 05/2013; 122(2):406-419. · 4.86 Impact Factor
  • Julia W Felton, David A Cole, Nina C Martin
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    ABSTRACT: The current longitudinal study tested hypotheses about Nolen-Hoeksema's (1987, 1991) response styles theory (RST) of depression in a sample of child and adolescent public school students. Wave 1 measures of rumination, distraction, and depression were obtained 6 months prior to the 2010 Nashville flood. Similar measures plus a measure of flood-related stressors were administered at Wave 2, approximately ten days after students returned to school after the flood. Results revealed an indirect effect of preflood rumination on postflood depressive symptoms via the intervening variable of postflood rumination, and partial mediation of the effect of preflood depression on postflood depression. Further, the interaction of rumination with flood-related stressors was moderated by age, suggesting that rumination may not become a strong cognitive diathesis for depression until adolescence. Developmental implications emerged for the treatment of child and adolescent victims of natural disasters and for the application of RST to children and adolescents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
    Journal of Abnormal Psychology 08/2012; · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to find longitudinal evidence of the effect of targeted peer victimization (TPV) on depressive cognitions as a function of victimization type and gender. Prospective relations of physical and relational peer victimization to positive and negative self-cognitions were examined in a 1-year, 2-wave longitudinal study. Self-reports of cognitions and both peer nomination and self-report measures of peer victimization experiences were obtained from 478 predominantly Caucasian children and young adolescents (Grades 3-6 at the beginning of the study) evenly split between genders. As a result, (a) peer victimization predicted increases in negative cognitions and decreases in positive cognitions over time; (b) relational victimization was more consistently related to changes in depressive cognitions than was physical victimization; (c) the prospective relation between victimization and depressive cognitions was stronger for boys than for girls; and (d) when the overlap between relational and physical TPV was statistically controlled, girls experienced more relational TPV than did boys, and boys experienced more physical TPV than did girls. Peer victimization, particularly relational TPV, has a significant impact on children's depressive cognitions. This relation seems particularly true for boys. Implications for future research, clinical work with victimized youth at risk for depression, and school policy to help both victims and bullies are discussed.
    Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 08/2012; 41(5):570-83. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During childhood and adolescence, physiological, psychological, and behavioral processes strongly promote weight gain and increased appetite while also inhibiting weight loss and decreased appetite. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) treats both weight-gain/increased-appetite and weight-loss/decreased-appetite as symptoms of major depression during these developmental periods, despite the fact that one complements typical development and the other opposes it. To disentangle the developmental versus pathological correlates of weight and appetite disturbance in younger age groups, the current study examined symptoms of depression in an aggregated sample of 2307 children and adolescents, 47.25% of whom met criteria for major depressive disorder. A multigroup, multidimensional item response theory model generated three key results. First, weight loss and decreased appetite loaded strongly onto a general depression dimension; in contrast, weight gain and increased appetite did not. Instead, weight gain and increased appetite loaded onto a separate dimension that did not correlate strongly with general depression. Second, inclusion or exclusion of weight gain and increased appetite affected neither the nature of the general depression dimension nor the fidelity of major depressive disorder diagnosis. Third, the general depression dimension and the weight-gain/increased-appetite dimension showed different patterns across age and gender. In child and adolescent populations, these results call into question the utility of weight gain and increased appetite as indicators of depression. This has serious implications for the diagnostic criteria of depression in children and adolescents. These findings inform a revision of the DSM, with implications for the diagnosis of depression in this age group and for research on depression. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
    Journal of Abnormal Psychology 06/2012; · 4.86 Impact Factor
  • Cong V Tran, David A Cole, Bahr Weiss
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    ABSTRACT: A 2-wave longitudinal study of young adolescents was used to test whether peer victimization predicts depressive symptoms, depressive symptoms predict peer victimization, or the 2 constructs show reciprocal relations. Participants were 598 youths in Grades 3 through 6, ages 8 to 14 (M = 10.9, SD = 1.2) at Wave 1. The sample was 50.7% female and 90.3% Caucasian. Participants completed self-reports of depressive symptoms, and self-reports and peer nomination measures of physical and relational peer victimization at 2 time points separated by 1 year. The results were as follows: (a) depressive symptoms predicted change in both physical and relational victimization, but neither type of peer victimization predicted change in depressive symptoms; (b) depressive symptoms were more predictive of physical victimization for boys than for girls; and (c) boys experienced more physical victimization, and girls experienced more relational victimization. Expression of some depressive symptoms may represent signs of vulnerability. For boys, they may also represent a violation of gender stereotypes. Both factors could be responsible for these effects. Implications for intervention include the possibility that treatment of depression in young adolescents may reduce the likelihood of peer victimization.
    Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 04/2012; 41(3):353-60. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    Amy S Weitlauf, David A Cole
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    ABSTRACT: Attributional style models of depression in adults (Abramson et al. 1989, 1978) have been adapted for use with children; however, most applications do not consider that children's understanding of causal relations may be qualitatively different from that of adults. If children's causal attributions depend on children's level of cognitive development, then support for attributional models of depression in young people will vary with cognitive development. In this paper, a new measure of cognitive development, the Peabody Causal Reasoning Test (PCRT), is introduced to assess children's understanding of ability versus effort, task difficulty, and luck as causal factors. Analyses revealed that in 8- to 16-year-old children, failure to control for level of cognitive development suppressed empirical support for cognitive diathesis-stress models of depression. Statistically controlling for measures of cognitive development strengthened support for this model.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 03/2012; 40(6):849-62. · 3.09 Impact Factor
  • Melissa A Maxwell, David A Cole
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    ABSTRACT: One community sample (N = 607) of youths generated self-reported responses to body dissatisfaction, from which the Adolescent Responses to Body Dissatisfaction (ARBD) inventory was constructed. A 2nd, similar sample (N = 830) completed this measure as well as measures of coping, body dissatisfaction, body mass index, depressive symptoms, and disordered eating behaviors. Evidence of 6 ARBD factors emerged: Self-Acceptance, Compensatory Thinking, Diet/Exercise, Anxious Responding, Appearance Strategies, and Social Comparison. Subscales based on these factors provided evidence of convergent, discriminant, construct, and incremental validity. Sex and ethnic differences were also evident. Adolescents' use of Self-Acceptance and Compensatory Thinking strategies appeared to attenuate the relation between body dissatisfaction and psychopathology, whereas use of Diet/Exercise and Anxious Responding appeared to exacerbate this relation, especially in adolescents who were not overweight. The ARBD provides a window into potentially healthy and unhealthy ways in which adolescents cope with body dissatisfaction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
    Psychological Assessment 01/2012; 24(3):721-37. · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Youths with high (N = 52) or low cognitive vulnerability (N = 48) for depression were selected from a larger sample (N = 515) of students (7-10 years old), based on their attributional style (AS), negative cognitions (NC), and/or self-competence (SC). Long-term effects of cognitive vulnerabilities on depressive symptoms were examined in a 3-year, three-wave, multi-informant, longitudinal design. Three findings emerged. First, some empirical overlap exists among these three types of cognitive diatheses, especially between NC and SC. Second, the combination of AS, NC, and SC had a significant (but diminishing) relationship to depressive symptoms at 6, 18, and 30 months, primarily due to NC and SC, not AS. Third, interactions between cognitive risk and life events were not significant, suggesting an additive type of diathesis-stress model for depression in young adolescents.
    The Journal of Early Adolescence 12/2011; 31(6):782-816. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inappropriate or excessive guilt is listed as a symptom of depression by the American Psychiatric Association (1994). Although many measures of guilt have been developed, definitional and operational problems exist, especially in the application of such measures in childhood and adolescence. To address these problems, the current study introduces the Inappropriate and Excessive Guilt Scale (IEGS), assesses its validity for use with children and adolescents, and tests its relation to depression across development. From a sample of 370 children between 7 and 16 years old, results provided (1) evidence that items designed to assess inappropriate and excessive guilt converged onto a single underlying factor, (2) support for the convergent, discriminant, and construct validity of the IEGS in a general youth population, and (3) evidence of incremental validity of the IEGS over-and-above other measures of guilt. Results also supported the hypothesis that inappropriate and excessive guilt as well as negative cognitive errors become less normative and more depressotypic with age.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2011; 40(4):607-20. · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In a four-wave, cohort-longitudinal design with a community sample of 515 children and adolescents (grades 2 through 9), this study examined the longitudinal structure of and prospective interrelations between maladaptive cognitions and depressive symptoms. Multigroup structural equation modeling generated four major findings. First, the longitudinal structures of maladaptive cognitions and depressive symptoms consist of a single time-invariant factor and a series of time-varying factors. Second, evidence supported a model in which depressive symptoms predicted negative cognitions but not the reverse. Third, the time-invariant components of cognition and depression were highly correlated. Fourth, the strength of the depression-to-cognition relation increased with age. Implications regarding the mechanisms underlying clinical interventions with depressed children are discussed.
    Journal of Abnormal Psychology 08/2011; 120(3):511-27. · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In a long-term follow-up of a randomized controlled trial (Compas et al., 2009) to examine the effects at 18- and 24-month follow-ups of a family group cognitive-behavioral (FGCB) preventive intervention for mental health outcomes for children and parents from families (N = 111) of parents with a history of major depressive disorder (MDD). Parents with a history of MDD and their 9- to 15-year-old children were randomly assigned to a FGCB intervention or a written information comparison condition. Children's internalizing, externalizing, anxiety/depression, and depressive symptoms; episodes of MDD and other psychiatric diagnoses; and parents' depressive symptoms and episodes of MDD were assessed at 18 and 24 months after randomization. Children in the FGCB condition were significantly lower in self-reports of anxiety/depression and internalizing symptoms at 18 months and were significantly lower in self-reports of externalizing symptoms at 18 and 24 months. Rates of MDD were significantly lower for children in the FGCB intervention over the 24-month follow-up (odds ratio = 2.91). Marginal effects were found for parents' symptoms of depression at 18 and 24 months but not for episodes of MDD. Support was found for a FGCB preventive intervention for children of parents with a history of MDD significantly reducing children's episodes of MDD over a period of 2 years. Significant effects for the FGCB intervention were also found on internalizing and externalizing symptoms, with stronger effects at 18- than at 24-month follow-up.
    Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 06/2011; 79(4):488-99. · 4.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our goals in this article were to use item response theory (IRT) to assess the relation of depressive symptoms to the underlying dimension of depression and to demonstrate how IRT-based measurement strategies can yield more reliable data about depression severity than conventional symptom counts. Participants were 3,403 children and adolescents from 12 contributing clinical and nonclinical samples; all participants had received the Kiddie Schedule of Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Aged Children. Results revealed that some symptoms reflected higher levels of depression and were more discriminating than others. Furthermore, use of IRT-based information about symptom severity and discriminability in the measurement of depression severity was shown to reduce measurement error and increase measurement fidelity.
    Psychological Assessment 05/2011; 23(4):819-33. · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Maxwell and Cole (2007) showed that cross-sectional approaches to mediation typically generate substantially biased estimates of longitudinal parameters in the special case of complete mediation. However, their results did not apply to the more typical case of partial mediation. We extend their previous work by showing that substantial bias can also occur with partial mediation. In particular, cross-sectional analyses can imply the existence of a substantial indirect effect even when the true longitudinal indirect effect is zero. Thus, a variable that is found to be a strong mediator in a cross-sectional analysis may not be a mediator at all in a longitudinal analysis. In addition, we show that very different combinations of longitudinal parameter values can lead to essentially identical cross-sectional correlations, raising serious questions about the interpretability of cross-sectional mediation data. More generally, researchers are encouraged to consider a wide variety of possible mediation models beyond simple cross-sectional models, including but not restricted to autoregressive models of change.
    01/2011; 46(5):816-841.

Publication Stats

3k Citations
390.36 Total Impact Points


  • 2001–2014
    • Vanderbilt University
      • Department of Psychology and Human Development
      Nashville, Michigan, United States
  • 2010
    • Freie Universität Berlin
      • Department of Education and Psychology
      Berlin, Land Berlin, Germany
  • 2008
    • University of Geneva
      Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 1996–2007
    • University of Notre Dame
      • Department of Psychology
      United States