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September 1983

Parental 'Affectionless Control' as an Antecedent to Adult DepressionA Risk Factor Delineated

Author Affiliations

From the School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Rozelle, Australia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983;40(9):956-960. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790080038005

• The view that depressives perceive themselves as having been exposed to an insufficiency of parental care and to parental overprotection was confirmed in a case-control study of 125 neurotic depressives, using a subjective measure of perceived parental characteristics, the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI). An interaction effect was noted, with the depressives scoring the same-sexed parent more deviantly. A discriminant analysis established that low parental care scale scores were the best discriminators, with raw care scores of less than 10 being highly sensitive in discriminating depressives from controls. Sixty-seven percent of the patients and 37% of the controls scored one or both parents to the "affectionless control" (low care-high protection) PBI quadrant, representing a relative risk of 3.4. It is concluded that the PBI delineates and quantifies a risk factor to certain grades of depressive experience.