article shows the correlation between personality types and depression
but it does not go far enough in that it does not include the
idea that we can change our personality. Those of us who are loners
can learn how to reach out and cooperate with others. Those of
us who are too aggressive can learn to pull back from our independent
and pushy attitudes and put that energy into cooperation rather
than competition. Those of us who are too fearful to trust other
people with "important things" can learn how to be more
inter-dependent instead of just relying on our own independence.
But I include the article because it shows the consequences of
hanging onto these isolationist traits as far as depression is
concerned. Maybe we missed out on the cooperative and interactive
socialization in elementary school where we are supposed to learn
how to connect with others. But it is never too late to learn.
The single most important trait for those who suffer less with
depression is that they have closer connections with other people.
We can all learn better ways of connecting to others.
A. B. Curtiss
Volume 31, No. 2, February 2000
American Psychological Association
styles may predict
susceptibility to depression
People who are hostile and aggressive, have low levels of dependency
on other people or report lower levels of satisfaction from recreational
activities are at a higher risk for recurrent bouts of major depression,
finds a University of Washington study.
the study, Jackie Gollan, PhD, a clinical psychology intern at
Brown University Medical School, followed for two years 78 patients
who had recovered from major depression. The patients had all
received 20 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy for their
depression and were considered symptom-free for at least two months
before being accepted into the study.
filled out several questionnaires and self-report surveys to measure
their depression, dysfunctional attitudes and pleasant activities.
They completed the assessments at the beginning and end of their
treatment and every six months during the two-year study. Their
personality types were also measured before and after treatment.
the end of the study, 34 participants, or 44 percent, had relapsed.
is a recurrent disease that requires repeated treatment for some
people," says Gollan. "Many people respond to cognitive-behavioral
psychotherapy for depression. However, treatments for depression
should address factors beyond depressed mood, like personality,
if we are to help individuals stay well." For instance, the
study found that individuals who depend little on others were
more likely to relapse.
who showed aggressiveness at the end of treatment by being hostile
and distrusting toward others also were more likely to have another
bout of depression, the study found. The reason, Gollan speculates,
is that they may not make friends easily and therefore have fewer
who reported lower levels of pleasure from their recreational
activities, such as going to the movies, exercising or visiting
friends, also were more likely to experience repeat depression,
according to the study.
is becoming clear that people are less at risk for relapse when
they continue to do things they enjoy," Gollan says.
are anxious to identify risk factors for recurrent depression
because studies have shown that between 50 percent and 80 percent
of patients successfully treated with cognitive behavioral therapy
suffer a relapse, often within two years of treatment.
study was supported by Neil Jacobson, PhD, a University of Washington
psychology professor who died last June. Gollan collaborated with
him on the study while she was earning her doctorate at the University
of Washington. It was funded by a grant from the National Institute
of Mental Health.
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