A measure of Beck's negative cognitive triad, the Cognitive Triad for Children (CTI-C), was evaluated for its psychometric properties and utility with a community sample of 880 African–American and Caucasian adolescents. High-school students ranging from 14 to 17 years of age completed the CTI-C, the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) and the Children's Attributional Style Questionnaire-Revised (CASQ-R) on two occasions 4 months apart. The CTI-C was found to be internally consistent, Cronbach's α=.90, to have acceptable test-retest reliability, r=.70, and concurrent validity as demonstrated by a significant correlation with the CASQ-R, r=.53. A principal factor analysis with promax rotation did not yield support for Beck's tripartite model of negative cognitions about the self, world, and future but rather yielded three factors with a combination of cognitions from all three domains. African American adolescents who reported more maladaptive cognitions on the CTI-C reported fewer depressive symptoms on the CDI 4 months later compared to their Caucasian counterparts, suggesting some limitation to using the CTI-C to predict depressive symptoms in African–American youth; however, Factor 1 derived from a factor analysis with the sample was more consistent in predicting future symptoms among both African–American and Caucasian adolescents. This factor consisted largely of positively worded items, offering some support for low positive affect as a predictor of depressive symptoms in adolescents. Depression and Anxiety 21:161–169, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.