Parental representations and depression in normal young adults

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Clinical reports and recent investigations indicate that depressed patients report that when they were children their parents were insensitive, unavailable, or overly intrusive and unable to tolerate the child's autonomy and independence. Using both an open-ended description of parents and a more structured rating procedure (Osgood semantic differential), the present study assessed the relation of descriptions of parents to aspects of depression in 121 undergraduates. Ratings of parents on the semantic differential as negative figures correlated significantly with several measures of depression. Intensity of depression and types of depressive experiences were also significantly related to the qualities attributed to the parents and the conceptual level with which the parents were described in the open-end procedure. The data offer support for the contention that the content and the cognitive level of parental representations may be a central dimension in depression. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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