Original Article

Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 521-532

Depression and Next-day Spillover of Negative Mood and Depressive Cognitions Following Interpersonal Stress

  • Kathleen C. GunthertAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, American University Email author 
  • , Lawrence H. CohenAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Delaware
  • , Andrew C. ButlerAffiliated withBeck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research
  • , Judith S. BeckAffiliated withBeck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research

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We hypothesized that individuals high in depression would experience a greater increase in depressive symptoms following daily interpersonal stress, as compared with their symptoms following noninterpersonal stress. Forty-six adult outpatients completed seven consecutive daily assessments of stressful events, appraisals of those events, depressive cognitions, and negative affect at the beginning of treatment. Although there were no same-day differences in reactions to interpersonal and noninterpersonal stressors, there was significant “spillover” of negative thoughts and affect following interpersonal stressors for those high in depression. In other words, for those high in depression, negative thoughts and affect increased to a greater degree on days following an interpersonal stressor, as compared to days following a noninterpersonal stressor. These findings suggest that delayed recovery from daily interpersonal stress might contribute to the maintenance of depressive symptoms.


Depression Interpersonal stress Reactivity Daily process design