Depression and the perception of social skill in dyadic interaction
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Increasing attention is being given to the elucidation of interpersonal processes in depression. The present study was designed to examine the accuracy of depressives' self-perceptions of their social competence. In addition, depressed subjects' perceptions of others with whom they interacted, and these others' perceptions of their depressed partners, were also assessed. Finally, the self-perceptions of nondepressed individuals following interactions with depressed subjects were examined. Depressed and nondepressed subjects were observed and rated in dyadic interactions with other nondepressed subjects, and postinteraction competence ratings of all participants were obtained from the subjects, their partners, and external observers. Analyses indicated that although the depressed subjects rated themselves as less socially competent than did nondepressed subjects, neither the ratings made by the subjects' partners nor those made by the observers discriminated between the depressed and nondepressed subjects. In addition, the depressed subjects rated their partners as lower in social competence than did the nondepressed subjects, and interestingly, the partners of the depressed subjects rated themselves as lower in social skill following the interaction than did the partners of the nondepressed subjects. Finally, the observer ratings of all participants were significantly lower than the participants' ratings of themselves. The results are discussed with respect to previous investigations in this area, and directions for future research are suggested.
Key wordsdepression social skill social competence social interaction
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