, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 595-609

A test of interpersonal theory of depression in children and adolescents using a projective technique

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Using a projective technique among child and adolescent psychiatric inpatients, we tested several hypotheses derived from Coyne's (1976b) interpersonal theory of depression. First, we predicted that depression would be associated with rejection, even controlling for the effects of aggression. Depression and rejection were associated only when aggression effects were covaried. Second, we hypothesized that the depression-rejection relation would display symptom specificity. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that depression, but not anxiety, was related to rejection. Third, we assessed whether an index of interpersonal style—reliance on others—moderated the depression-rejection relation. Results suggested that depression and overreliance were both associated with high rejection scores, whereas the combination of low depression and low reliance on others was associated with low rejection scores. We found that results held across age groups. The implications of our findings for the interpersonal theory of depression in youngsters are discussed.