Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

‘She called her partner – hence she is needy’: depressed patients show increased tendencies to make spontaneous trait inferences

  • B. Boecking (a1) and T. Barnhofer (a1)

Abstract

Background

Interpersonal stress generation is an important maintaining factor in major depression; however, little is known about the psychological mechanisms that undermine interpersonal functioning. This study investigated the role of deficits in person perception to this regard.

Method

Depressed patients (n = 20) and healthy controls (n = 20) completed a false recognition task that measured participants' tendencies to make spontaneous trait inferences (STIs), that is to spontaneously ascribe personality traits to other people. Participants then reported interpersonal daily hassles for one week following the task.

Results

Tendencies to make STIs were significantly higher in depressed patients, particularly those with a history of childhood trauma. The degree to which participants made STIs was significantly related to depression severity, and predicted the occurrence of interpersonal daily hassles during follow-up across, but not within groups.

Conclusions

The results suggest that depressed patients show characteristic biases in person perception that may contribute to the generation of interpersonal stress.

Copyright

Corresponding author

* Address for correspondence: B. Boecking, Ph.D., Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. (Email: benjamin.boecking@kcl.ac.uk)

References

Hide All
Abramson, LY, Metalsky, GI, Alloy, LB (1989). Hopelessness depression: a theory-based subtype of depression. Psychological Review 96, 358372.
Alloy, LB, Abramson, LY, Whitehouse, WG, Hogan, ME, Panzarella, C, Rose, DT (2006). Prospective incidence of first onsets and recurrences of depression in individuals at high and low risk for depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 115, 145156.
Alloy, LB, Abramson, LY, Whitehouse, WG, Hogan, ME, Tashman, NA, Steinberg, D, Rose, DT, Donovan, P (1999). Depressogenic cognitive styles: predictive validity, information processing and personality characteristics, and developmental origins. Behaviour Research and Therapy 37, 503531.
Anderson, NH (1968). Likableness ratings of 555 personality-trait words. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 9, 272279.
Bargh, JA, Chartrand, TL (1999). The unbearable automaticity of being. American Psychologist 54, 462479.
Barnard, PJ, Teasdale, JD (1991). Interacting cognitive subsystems – a systemic approach to cognitive-affective interaction and change. Cognition and Emotion 5, 139.
Barnhofer, T, Crane, C, Spinhoven, P, Williams, JMG (2007). Failures to retrieve specific memories in previously depressed individuals: random errors or content-related? Behaviour Research and Therapy 45, 18591869.
Bech, P, Rasmussen, NA, Olsen, LR, Noerholm, V, Abildgaard, W (2001). The sensitivity and specificity of the Major Depression Inventory, using the Present State Examination as the index of diagnostic validity. Journal of Affective Disorders 66, 159164.
Beck, AT (1987). Cognitive models of depression. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly 1, 537.
Beck, AT, Steer, RA (1990). Manual for the Beck Anxiety Inventory. Psychological Corporation: San Antonio, TX.
Beck, AT, Steer, RA, Brown, GK (1996). Manual for the Beck Depression Inventory-II. Psychological Corporation: San Antonio, TX.
Bernstein, DP, Fink, L (1998). Childhood Trauma Questionnaire: A Retrospective Self-Report Manual. Psychological Corporation: San Antonio, TX.
Bernstein, DP, Fink, L, Handelsman, L, Foote, J, Lovejoy, M, Wenzel, K, Sapareto, E, Ruggiero, J (1994). Initial reliability and validity of a new retrospective measure of child abuse and neglect. American Journal of Psychiatry 151, 11321136.
Bernstein, DP, Stein, JA, Newcomb, MD, Walker, E, Pogge, D, Ahluvalia, T, Stokes, J, Handelsman, L, Medrano, M, Desmond, D, Zule, W (2003). Development and validation of a brief screening version of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Child Abuse and Neglect 27, 169190.
Brown, GW (1989). Life events and measurement. In Life Events and Illness (ed. Brown, G. W. and Harris, T. O.), pp. 349. Guilford Press: New York, NY.
Chen, P, Coccaro, EF, Lee, R, Jacobson, KC (2012). Moderating effects of childhood maltreatment on associations between social information processing and adult aggression. Psychological Medicine 42, 12931304.
Coyne, JC (1976). Depression and the response of others. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 85, 186193.
Cuijpers, P, Geraedts, AS, van Oppen, P, Andersson, G, Markowitz, JC, van Straten, A (2011). Interpersonal psychotherapy for depression: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry 168, 581592.
Ford, JD (2005). Treatment implications of altered affect regulation and information processing following child maltreatment. Psychiatric Annals 35, 410419.
Groth-Marnat, G (2009). Handbook of Psychological Assessment, 5th edn. John Wiley & Sons Inc.: Somerset, NJ.
Hammen, CL (1992). Cognitive, life stress, and interpersonal approaches to a developmental psychopathology model of depression. Development and Psychopathology 4, 189206.
Hammen, CL (2005). Stress and depression. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology 1, 293319.
Hammen, CL (2006). Stress generation in depression: reflections on origins, research, and future directions. Journal of Clinical Psychology 62, 10651082.
Harkness, KL, Lumley, MN, Truss, AE (2008). Stress generation in adolescent depression: the moderating role of child abuse and neglect. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 36, 421432.
Hermans, D, van den Broeck, K, Belis, G, Raes, F, Pieters, G, Eelen, P (2004). Trauma and autobiographical memory specificity in depressed inpatients. Behaviour Research and Therapy 42, 775789.
Hollon, SD, Thase, ME, Markowitz, JC (2002). Treatment and prevention of depression. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 3, 3977.
Kanner, AD, Coyne, JC, Schaefer, C, Lazarus, RS (1981). Comparison of two modes of stress measurement: daily hassles and uplifts versus major life events. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 4, 140.
Kramer, G (2007). Insight Dialogue: The Interpersonal Path to Freedom. Shambhala Publications Inc.: Boston, MA.
Liu, RT, Choi, JY, Boland, EM, Mastin, BM, Alloy, LB (2013). Childhood abuse and stress generation: the mediational effect of depressogenic cognitive styles. Psychiatry Research 206, 217222.
Martinez, AM, Benavente, R (1998). The AR Face Database. CVC Technical Report, No. 24.
May-Chahal, C, Cawson, P (2005). Measuring child maltreatment in the United Kingdom: a study of the prevalence of child abuse and neglect. Child Abuse and Neglect 29, 969984.
Middeldorp, CM, Cath, DC, Van Dyck, R, Boomsma, DI (2005). The co-morbidity of anxiety and depression in the perspective of genetic epidemiology. A review of twin and family studies. Psychological Medicine 35, 611624.
Moskowitz, GB (1993). Individual differences in social categorization: the influence of personal need for structure on spontaneous trait inferences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65, 132142.
Olsen, LR, Jensen, DV, Noerholm, V, Martiny, K, Bech, P (2003). The internal and external validity of the Major Depression Inventory in measuring severity of depressive states. Psychological Medicine 33, 351356.
Osman, A, Kopper, BA, Barrios, FX, Osman, JR, Wade, T (1998). The Beck Anxiety Inventory: reexamination of factor structure and psychometric properties. Journal of Clinical Psychology 53, 714.
Paulhus, DL, Vazire, S (2007). The self-report method. In Handbook of Research Methods in Personality Psychology (ed. Robins, R. W., Fraley, R. C. and Krueger, R. F.), pp. 224239. Guilford Press: New York, NY.
Richter, P, Werner, J, Heerlein, A, Kraus, A, Sauer, H (1998). On the validity of the Beck Depression Inventory. Psychopathology 31, 160168.
Rim, S, Uleman, JS, Trope, Y (2009). Spontaneous trait inference and construal level theory: psychological distance increases nonconscious trait thinking. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 45, 10881097.
Rogosch, FA, Cicchetti, D, Aber, JL (1995). The role of child maltreatment in early deviations in cognitive and affective processing abilities and later peer relationship problems. Development and Psychopathology 7, 591610.
Rossi, A, Marinangeli, MG, Butti, G, Scinto, A, Di Cicco, L, Kalyvoka, A, Petruzzi, C (2001). Personality disorders in bipolar and depressive disorders. Journal of Affective Disorders 65, 38.
Segal, ZV, Williams, JMG, Teasdale, JD, Gemar, M (1996). A cognitive science perspective on kindling and episode sensitization in recurrent affective disorder. Psychological Medicine 26, 371380.
Stiles, WB, Barkham, M, Mellor-Clark, J, Connell, J (2008). Effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural, person-centred, and psychodynamic therapies in UK primary-care routine practice: replication in a larger sample. Psychological Medicine 38, 677688.
Todorov, A, Uleman, JS (2002). Spontaneous trait inferences are bound to actors’ faces: evidence from a false recognition paradigm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83, 10511065.
Todorov, A, Uleman, JS (2003). The efficiency of binding spontaneous trait inferences to actors’ faces. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48, 1318.
Trope, Y, Liberman, N (2010). Construal-level theory of psychological distance. Psychological Review 117, 440463.
Uleman, JS (1999). Spontaneous versus intentional inferences in impression formation. In Dual-Process Theories in Social Psychology (ed. Chaiken, S. and Trope, Y.), pp. 141160. Guilford Press: New York, NY.
Uleman, JS, Hon, A, Roman, RJ, Moskowitz, GB (1996). On-line evidence for spontaneous trait inferences at encoding. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 22, 377394.
Uleman, JS, Saribay, SA, Gonzalez, CM (2008). Spontaneous inferences, implicit impressions, and implicit theories. Annual Review of Psychology 59, 329360.
van Harmelen, AL, de Jong, PJ, Glashouwer, KA, Spinhoven, P, Penninx, BWJH, Elzinga, BM (2010). Child abuse and negative explicit and automatic self-associations: the cognitive scars of emotional maltreatment. Behaviour Research and Therapy 48, 486494.
Wilkowski, BM, Robinson, MD (2010). Associative and spontaneous appraisal processes independently contribute to anger elicitation in daily life. Emotion 10, 181189.
Williams, JMG, Barnhofer, T, Crane, C, Hermans, D, Raes, F, Watkins, E, Dalgleish, T (2007). Autobiographical memory specificity and emotional disorder. Psychological Bulletin 133, 122148.

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed