The Role Of Personality And Recent Life Events In Depression

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




The relationship between personality style, stressful life events, and depression was investigated in a six-month longitudinal study of 190 undergraduate subjects. Subjects were classified into five broad categories based on configural patterns of personality variables, and the degree of depression in each group at different levels of recent life events was measured. The levels of stressful events reported by the five personality groups were examined, and specific mediating variables were studied by comparing depressed and nondepressed subjects at high and low levels of life events. The results indicated that both personality and level of life events were important in predicting depression. No significant interaction was found between personality style and level of life events. There were significant differences in the numbers of recent life events reported by the different personality groups. Negative cognitive distortion and social alienation emerged as important variables which distinguished depressed and nondepressed subjects at high and low levels of stress. The overall pattern of findings suggests the importance of personality style in mediating the relationship between stressful life events and depression. The role of an individual in bringing about life changes, the meaning an individual attaches to life events, and the degree of social support available to an individual are important variables in the life events-depression relationship.


Psychology, Clinical

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