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J Affect Disord. 2007 Nov;103(1-3):147-54. Epub 2007 Feb 27.

Feeling unsupported? An investigation of depressed patients' perceptions.

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School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales and Mood Disorders Unit, Black Dog Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales, 2031, Australia.



Much is known about the importance of social support for psychological health and general coping. While several measures exist to assess social support as a construct, less attention has been given to assessing the clinical and demographic factors associated with perceptions of low social support from multiple sources in clinically depressed patients.


Data on social support and depression history and severity were collected from a sample of 218 outpatients with major depression. Patients were assessed with clinical assessment interviews and self-report measures including the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS).


More than half of the patients sampled believed that a lack of social support was instrumental in maintaining their depressive condition. Perceptions of low social support, particularly that provided by the family, were significantly associated with objective markers of lifetime depression chronicity.


Clinicians interested in assisting patients' recovery cannot afford to overlook the potential role played by interpersonal factors in maintaining depression. Patients with more chronic lifetime depression histories require psychotherapeutic assistance for coping with interpersonal stressors and maintaining or building supportive relationships.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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