Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 61–76 | Cite as

Sociotropic and Autonomous Personality Styles: Contributions to Chronic Life Stress

  • Denise R. Nelson
  • Constance Hammen
  • Shannon E. Daley
  • Dorli Burge
  • Joanne Davila


Sociotropy and autonomy are personality styles that are believed to moderate the effects of stressors on depression. This study tested the hypothesis that these styles may actually contribute to the occurrence of chronic stress. Specifically, we tested whether the personality styles are associated with increased chronic stress in the domain of vulnerability or in the cross domain. In a longitudinal study of 115 young women followed over 18 months, results indicated that one facet of autonomy, need for control, is a risk factor for increases in chronic interpersonal stress. Sociotropy was a risk factor for increases in future chronic achievement stress when coupled with either poor problem solving or low levels of perceived interpersonal competence. These results are consistent with Hammen's stress generation model, which emphasizes how individuals play a role in the creation of their own stress. Results also suggest that those with highly sociotropic or autonomous personality styles are more likely to create stress in the domain that they value less.

sociotropy autonomy chronic stress personality styles 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denise R. Nelson
    • 1
  • Constance Hammen
    • 1
  • Shannon E. Daley
    • 1
  • Dorli Burge
    • 1
  • Joanne Davila
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles

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