Depressed individuals are characterized by a wide range of social deficits (see Barnett & Gotlib, 1988; Segrin, 2000, for reviews). It is noteworthy that there is no single cohesive theory to account for the origins of these social difficulties. Instead, relatively isolated bodies of empirical research (for example, studies examining the associations between depression and stressful life events, social networks, marital functioning, etc.) have implicated different aspects of interpersonal functioning as being important in understanding the etiology and maintenance of depression, as well as relapse of this disorder. Given recent reviews of the social functioning of depressed persons (e.g., Hirschfield et al., 2000; Segrin, 2000), we will not attempt to present an exhaustive review of this research in this chapter. Rather, we will organize our discussion of the social functioning of depressed persons by describing two main types of social deficit in MDD: those that involve problems with the quantity of social interactions, and those that involve the quality of social interactions.
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