Social support, onset of depression and personality

An exploratory analysis
  • B. Andrews
  • G. W. Brown


The effects of personality characteristics on social support and hence risk of depression are explored in a group of 150 largely working-class mothers, a subsample of 400 women who took part in a prospective study. This established that once those with depression at first interview were excluded, practically all of the onsets of depression in the follow-up year occurred among 150 women with a severe event or major difficulty — that is a “provoking agent”. It was also found that low self-esteem and lack of support from a core tie at the time of the crisis was associated with a considerably increased risk. In the subsample as a whole, measures of dependency and attitudinal constraints to support taken at first interview were not associated with risk of depression. But, it is argued, any enduring personality traits that play a role in the link between lack of support and depression would most likely be seen in a smaller group, namely those who had had early inadequate parenting. And the most promising lead concerning the role of personality characteristics did in fact emerge in relation to a small high risk group with such parenting. Most of them had low self-esteem, and they appeared to confide in inappropriate and unreliable sources of support at time of crisis.


Public Health High Risk Social Support Small Group Personality Trait 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Andrews
    • 1
  • G. W. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Policy and Social ScienceRoyal Holloway and Bedford New College University of LondonLondonEngland

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