Sociotropy/Autonomy and Vulnerability to Specific Life Events in Patients With Unipolar Depression and Bipolar Disorders

Constance Hammen, Aimee Ellicott, Michael Gitlin, Kay R. Jamison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Followed samples of unipolar and bipolar patients for a 6-month period, with independent assessment of symptoms and life events. Patients were initially categorized into subtypes using Beck's Sociotropy/Autonomy Scale, with the prediction that onset or exacerbation of symptoms, as well as more total symptoms, would occur for sociotropic individuals experiencing more negative interpersonal events than achievement events, and for autonomous-achievement patients experiencing more achievement events than interpersonal events. Results were confirmed for unipolars, indicating that the course of disorder was associated with the occurrence of personally meaningful life events, but not for bipolars. Further research is recommended to examine whether the effect is equally robust for both subtypes of unipolars, whether longer study duration may be required for bipolars, and whether a cognitive self-schema mechanism may account for the specific vulnerability to a subset of stressful events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-160
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Volume98
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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