Princeton University Library Catalog

Examining Depressive Vulnerability: Relationships Among Social Hypersensitivity, Excessive Reassurance Seeking, and Rumination

Metts, Allison [Browse]
Senior thesis
Girgus, Joan [Browse]
Shafir, Eldar [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year:
123 pages
Summary note:
This study examines the relationships among three identified vulnerabilities to depression—social hypersensitivity, excessive reassurance seeking, and rumination—and aims to demonstrate how these possible relationships may inform the understanding of the development of depressive symptomatology. Additionally, it examines each of these risk factors within the framework of the diathesis-stress model and whether these risk factors predispose an individual to depressive symptoms in an additive manner. Though these risk factors originate from different theories of depression—interpersonal behavior, response style, and cognitive—the present study is an attempt to view these variables in a less categorical way. I will begin with a comprehensive review of the literature on unipolar depression, each of the three risk factors, and the relationships among them, as well as a consideration of gender differences and the diathesisstress model. The present study employs a longitudinal design. Participants (N = 190) were administered surveys—including measures assessing social hypersensitivity, excessive reassurance seeking, rumination, and depressive symptoms—at two time points, four weeks apart. Negative life events were also measured at the second time point to capture life stressors over the four week period. Findings indicate significant basic effects among the risk factors and depressive symptoms, significant mediation relationships, a marginally significant interaction between brooding and ERS in the prediction of later depressive symptoms, and support for the idea of additive vulnerability. In short, results provide partial support for my eleven hypotheses. Future research directions are proposed, and implications for how these findings could inform treatment approaches for the unipolar depression are considered.