Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

a theory based on the RET approach developed in 1955 by Albert Ellis, proposing that Activating events are not the cause of Consequences, but rather that a person's Beliefs are, hence the ABC terminology

ABC THEORY: "The ABC Theory is well-applied in the case of child molestation charges filed against famed singer/songwriter Michael Jackson in the 1990's- Jackson became recluse following the trial in which he was exonerated. Despite the non-guilty verdict, Jackson was shamed (his beliefs) by the trial (activating event) itself, causing his reclusion and suspected subsequent heavy prescription drug abuse (consequences)."

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