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Specificity and Social Problem-Solving: Relation to Depressive and Anxious Symptomology

Social problem-solving has been associated with depressive and anxious symptomology. However, these studies have traditionally not explored whether these associations are specific or associated with shared variance between these symptoms. In the current study, measures of depressive and anxious symptoms and social problem-solving were administered to 245 undergraduate students. Partial correlations and regression analyses were conducted to explore the specificity of associations between depressive and anxious symptoms. Results indicated that social problem-solving orientation and problem-solving skills were associated with depressive and anxious symptoms, but that these results remained significant only to depressive symptoms when anxiety was statistically controlled. Results also supported the primary role of negative problem-solving orientation and the importance of assessing problem orientation and skills dimensions. Discussion centers on the meaning of the results in relation to problem-solving theory and treatment.