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Sixty patients who had taken an overdose of drugs within the previous 24 hours completed the Attributional Style Questionnaire and the Profile of Mood States scale. Their scores were compared with two age-matched samples: 31 medical patients and 71 non-patient controls. Overdose patients had significantly higher stable and global attributions for negative events than controls, but were no different in attribution for positive events. They were also more disturbed in their mood, but their level of mood disturbance did not correlate with levels of attribution. Thirty-two of the overdose group were followed up one week later, by which time there had been a reliable downward shift in mood. However, there was no corresponding reliable shift in attributions, which remained significantly higher than normal. These results suggest that attributions may be important in determining how self-poisoners cope with life-events, but the relationship with mood is complex; attributions are not simply mood-dependent, nor is mood level or recovery simply attribution-dependent.


Journal article


Br J Clin Psychol

Publication Date



30 ( Pt 1)


25 - 35


Adult, Affective Symptoms, Drug Overdose, Female, Humans, Internal-External Control, Male, Motivation, Personality Tests, Recurrence, Social Perception, Suicide, Attempted