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J Clin Psychol. 2001 Jan;57(1):93-103.

Couple functioning in depression: the roles of sociotropy and autonomy.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.


We evaluated the hypothesis that interpersonal relationships of depressed persons would vary as a function of the personality variables sociotropy and autonomy. Depressed psychiatric patients who reported being in a current intimate relationship for at least six months were administered measures of sociotropy, autonomy, and several aspects of relationship functioning. Results indicated that sociotropy was related significantly to patients' reporting their own behavior as demanding and their partners' behavior as withdrawing, whereas autonomy was related to patients' reporting their partners' behavior as demanding and their own behavior as withdrawing. Autonomy also was related to greater relationship dissatisfaction, and there was a trend for autonomy to be related to greater criticism of the partner. The results are consistent with a model in which sociotropy and autonomy increase vulnerability to depression, in part, through their effects on interpersonal relationships.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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