Interpersonal and impersonal problem-solving skills in mildly and clinically depressed university students

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Abstract

Administered the Beck Depression Inventory and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory to 20 nondepressed and 20 depressed university students and 8 nondepressed and 10 depressed university students being treated at a university counseling service. Ss were then tested on the Means-Ends Problem-Solving Procedure (a measure of interpersonal problem-solving ability) and the anagram task used in the investigations of learned helplessness (a measure of impersonal problem-solving ability). All Ss were administered the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry version of the Vocabulary subscale of the WAIS. A significant negative correlation was found between depression and interpersonal problem-solving ability, while only anxiety was correlated with anagram performance. Differences between groups were found only in interpersonal problem-solving performance. Nondepressed Ss performed significantly better than the other 3 groups, while depressed counselees obtained the lowest scores on the interpersonal measures. No relationship was found between performance on the anagram task and performance on the Means-Ends Problem-Solving Procedure. Results are consistent with predictions generated by interpersonal theories of depression, but they raise questions about the validity of the learned helplessness model as an analog of clinical depression. (46 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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