Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Several theorists have hypothesized that certain personality traits may predispose individuals who are high in those traits to become depressed. The traits most often discussed are dependency, self-criticism, and autonomy. Empirical research has obtained preliminary evidence of personality disturbances among depressives; however, a number of theoretical hypotheses have received little research attention.;The present research examined the relations of personality and depression in two related studies. The first study involved the development and validation of two new measures of dependency and self-criticism. A pool of 141 original items written to reflect definitions of dependency and self-criticism, together with items from measures of other traits, were administered to 210 undergraduates. Jackson's (1970) procedures for item selection were followed in constructing the new scales. The two 20-item measures of dependency (DSI) and self-criticism (SSI) were found to possess good psychometric properties. Using data from the same sample, a theoretical model of the relations among the traits, self-esteem, and depression was evaluated. The results suggested that dependency, self-criticism, low self-esteem, and depression are highly intercorrelated, whereas autonomy is inversely correlated with each of the other factors.;In the second study, the DSI and SSI, together with measures of a number of psychosocial variables, were administered twice, six months apart, to 115 women. Diagnostic interviews were used to classify subjects as remitting depressives, nonremitting depressives, and never depressed. These groups were compared with respect to their psychosocial functioning at Time 1 and Time 2. The results suggested that elevated scores in dependency, self-criticism, dysphoria, and low self-esteem, but not autonomy, are characteristic of remitted depressives. Furthermore, dependency, self-criticism, low self-esteem, and low social support were significant predictors of the nonremission of symptoms. Additional results suggested that the combination of high dependency and low attachment social support is associated with low self-esteem among both remitted depressives and never depressed women. Finally, low reassurance of worth social support was found to be related to elevated postmorbid dysphoria among recently recovered depressives. These results are discussed in terms of the support they offer for different theories concerning personality and depression.
Barnett, Peter A., "The Depressive Personality: A Study Of Dependency, Self-criticism, And Autonomy" (1989). Digitized Theses. 1983.