December 1982

Coping Behaviors That Mediate Between Life Events and Depression

Author Affiliations

From the Schools of Psychiatry (Dr Parker) and Psychology (Dr Brown), University of New South Wales, Australia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(12):1386-1391. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290120022004

• An attempt was made to identify the repertoires of coping behaviors that may mediate between life events and depressive disorders. Six structural dimensions emerged in a nonclinical group: recklessness, socialization, distraction, problem solving, self-consolation, and passivity. Several age, sex, and social class effects on derived scale scores that assessed behavioral change and the perceived effectiveness of behavioral change were also shown in that nonclinical group. Subsequently, a controlled study revealed behavioral decrement in the reports of nonpsychotic depressives. Further analyses suggested that the decrements could best be explained as a consequence of state levels of depression rather than as indicating ongoing vulnerability characteristics. Such findings have important therapeutic implications for behavioral and cognitive behavioral treatments of depressive disorders.