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Teasdale's differential activation hypothesis (DAH) has been proposed as one account of cognitive vulnerability to depression. This view holds that important factors determining whether one's initial depression becomes more severe or persistent are the degree of activation, and content, of negative thinking patterns that become accessible in the depressed state. This phenomenon has been referred to as cognitive reactivity. Empirical support for the predictions of this model derives from a combination of cross-sectional and prospective studies. In this article, we evaluate this evidence with the goal of determining whether mood-induced cognitive reactivity can be considered a risk factor for depressive relapse/recurrence. Our review demonstrates sufficient evidence to consider cognitive reactivity as a potential causal risk factor for depressive relapse/recurrence. Furthermore, we extend the application of this model to the problem of suicidal relapse/recurrence including a review of preliminary support for this approach.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





1001 - 1017


Cognition Disorders, Depression, Humans, Models, Psychological, Recurrence, Suicide