Depression, self-focus, and social interaction

  • Janis D. Edison
  • Henry E. Adams


The accuracy of depressed and nondepressed subjects' perceptions of their own and a social interactional partner's performance was investigated. Twenty depressed and twenty nondepressed college students participated in dyadic interactions and then rated their own and their partner's social behavior. The interactions were also rated by objective coders. Depressed subjects were differentiated from nondepressed subjects on several measures by both the coders and the subjects. Depressed subjects' self-ratings were correlated with the coders' ratings more often than were the nondepressives' ratings, suggesting depressives provided more accurate self-observations. Contrary to prediction, depressives were also more accurate in judging their partner's behavior. Depressives experienced heightened levels of self-focused attention, but this attentional focus did not mediate the relationship between depression level and self-accuracy. Finally, an analysis of the verbal statements suggests that performance differences between depressives and nondepressives may be a function of the quantity, rather than the quality, of the verbal production.

Key words

depression self-focus social behavior social perception 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janis D. Edison
    • 1
  • Henry E. Adams
    • 2
  1. 1.VA Medical CenterButler
  2. 2.University of GeorgiaAthens

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