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Depressive personality in nonclinical subjects
Am J Psychiatry 1993;150:1718-1724.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This study explored the reliability and clinical correlates of the depressive personality in nonclinical subjects. In particular, the authors were interested in determining the relationship between depressive personality and mood disorders. METHOD: The subjects were 185 college students who were selected by using a battery of screening inventories assessing a variety of psychopathological symptoms and traits. The subjects were given structured diagnostic interviews that included a section on depressive temperament. RESULTS: There were significant relationships between depressive personality and lifetime. DSM-III diagnoses of major depression and dysthymia. However, the magnitude of the associations was modest, indicating that these are distinct, although overlapping constructs. In addition, the subjects with depressive personality (N = 36) had significantly greater impairment and a higher rate of mood disorders in their first-degree relatives than did the subjects without depressive personality (N = 149). Moreover, these results were evident even after the subjects with a lifetime history of mood disorder were excluded. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that depressive personality is a clinically important condition that is not subsumed by existing mood disorders categories but can be viewed as falling within the affective spectrum.

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