Interpersonal Style, Stress, and Depression

An Examination of Transactional and Diathesis-Stress Models

Published In: Journal of Social and Clinical Pyschology, v. 29, no. 1, Jan. 2010, p. 23, 38

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2009

by Nicole K. Eberhart, Constance L Hammen

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The present study examines a transactional, interpersonal model of depression in which stress generation (Hammen, 1991) in romantic relationships mediates the association between aspects of interpersonal style (i.e., attachment, dependency, and reassurance seeking) and depressive symptoms. It also examines an alternative, diathesis-stress model in which interpersonal style interacts with romantic stressors in predicting depressive symptoms. These models were tested in a sample of college women, both prospectively over a four-week period, as well as on a day-to-day basis using a daily diary methodology. Overall, there was strong evidence for a transactional, mediation model in which interpersonal style predicted romantic conflict stress, and in turn depressive symptoms. The alternative diathesis-stress model of depression was not supported. These results are interpreted in relation to previous research, and key limitations that should be addressed by future research are discussed.

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