The relationships between problem-solving, life stress and depression

Sherry Anne Schur, Pace University


This study investigated the relationship among three variables: depression, life stress and problem solving. Gender and ethnic differences were also explored. The participants were 85 undergraduate students enrolled in psychology courses at a northeastern university. Subjects were told the purpose of the study and participation was voluntary. Five self-report measures were administered: Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Means End Problem Solving Measure (MEPS), Unusual Uses Activity Test (UUAT), Problem Solving Inventory (PSI) and Life Experience Scale (LES). Subjects were debriefed after completing the measures. No significant differences were found among ethnic groups. However significant gender differences were noted in relation to depression, interpersonal problem solving, and the time component of the interpersonal problem solving measure (MEPS). Significant relationships were found to exist among the three major variables: depression, negative life stress and one's attitude toward their ability to problem solve. It appears that rather than one's actual ability to problem solve being most important in relation to depression and stress, it is one's perception or attitude toward his/her ability that is paramount. These findings may assist practitioners in the development of new strategies to address depression as well as assist in targeting problem solving deficits.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Schur, Sherry Anne, "The relationships between problem-solving, life stress and depression" (1999). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9915171.



Remote User: Click Here to Login (must have Pace University remote login ID and password. Once logged in, click on the View More link above)