Social Aspects of Depression
Over the last ten years, American psychiatry has witnessed a remarkable rise in interest in the social aspects of depression in particular. A key factor in this rise has been better agreement on research criteria for this group of disorders and new epidemiologic instruments such as the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS), the Present States Examination (PSE), and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CED-S). In a related theme, Dohrenwend has developed an instrument for measuring demoralization as a nonspecific indicator for depression and other psychopathology in community surveys (1). Weissman has developed a reliable scale for assessing social adjustment and has shown how this outcome variable is different than symptom ratings in depressive illness (2). In addition, two well known concepts, social support and life events, have been reexamined and applied to depressive illness. It is the purpose of this report to examine the research on these two variables in particular. This emphasis is predicated on the assumption that we are in danger of becoming complacent with our current understanding of and methodology for measuring these two crucial factors in the etiology and clinical course of the affective disorders.
KeywordsSocial Support Stressful Life Event Depressive Illness Early Life Stress Diagnostic Interview Schedule
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