The hypothesis that recurrent or chronic depressive illness produces a long-term change in neuroticism was examined in a sample (N = 34) from a consecutive series of 89 depressed patients admitted to the Maudsley Hospital in 1965/6. The Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) was administered at the time of the index illness both when the patients were depressed and on recovery, and then again at follow-up 18 years later. The change in the neuroticism (N) score over the 18-year-period was compared in good and poor outcome groups defined variously by a global rating of outcome, frequency of episodes, extent of subsequent hospitalization and the presence or absence of subsequent chronicity. The mean N score for the sample as a whole did not change significantly over the 18 years, and no differential change in the N score was observed between any of the good and poor outcome groups. Thus, the hypothesis was not supported.
"Studies that address the scar hypothesis ideally assess putative factors that may become scarred before and after an episode of MDD in participants without residual symptoms. In studies that attempted to apply such a rigorous design, several potential scars were examined including depression-related cognitions (Lewinsohn et al. 1981 ; Barnett & Gotlib, 1988), personality (Rohde et al. 1990 ; Duggan et al. 1991 ; Shea et al. 1996 ; De Fruyt et al. 2006 ; Ormel et al. 2004b), psychosocial disability (Rohde et al. 1990 ; Ormel et al. 2004a), social skills (Zeiss & Lewinsohn, 1988) as well as rumination, self-esteem and negative emotionality (Beevers et al. 2007). However, in all these studies virtually no evidence was found for the scar hypothesis. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although clinical findings suggest that in the aftermath of depression a process of 'scarring' may ensue, research examining the issue of 'scars' (including biological, psychological and cognitive changes) has remained largely inconclusive. This paper proposes a new approach to the concept of 'scars' that is (i) based on a dimensional view of depression, (ii) uses methods that take into account the dynamic interplay between the person and his context, (iii) differentiates between scars following depression and scars following the factor that actually caused the depression such as stress and (iv) introduces a dynamic view of the concept of 'scars' in that it hypothesizes that scars can wax and wane. This approach may stimulate the discovery of new entries in the puzzle underlying the ontogenesis of vulnerability and resilience. Furthermore, it may provide insights that help to develop new therapies for depression.
Psychological Medicine 03/2010; 40(3):359-65. DOI:10.1017/S0033291709990420 · 5.94 Impact Factor
"Consistent with three prior studies (Nystrom & Lindegard, 1975), N predicted the new onset of MD (Tambs et al. 1991; Kendler et al. 1993). MD predicted N 2 controlling for N 1 , consistent with a scar effect, as did our previous study (Kendler et al. 1993), while two clinical studies failed to provide evidence for it (Duggan et al. 1991 ; Zeiss & "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relationship between personality and psychiatric illness is complex. It is not clear whether one directly causes the other.
In a population-based sample of male twins (n=3030), we attempted to predict major depression (MD) from neuroticism (N) and extraversion (E) and vice versa, to evaluate the causal, scar, state, and prodromal hypotheses. In a longitudinal, structural equation twin model, we decomposed the covariation between N and MD into (a) genetic and environmental factors that are common to both traits, as well as specific to each one and (b) direct causal effects of N at time 1 on subsequent MD, as well as between MD and subsequent N.
E was negatively correlated with lifetime and one-year prevalence of MD. N predicted the new onset of MD, and was predicted by both current and past MD. It did not predict the time to onset of MD. All of the covariation between N and MD was due to additive genetic and individual-specific environmental factors shared by both traits and a direct causal path between MD and N assessed later. No genetic factors were unique to either trait.
In men, N may be a vulnerability factor for MD but does not cause it directly. However, MD may have a direct causal effect on N. The genetic overlap between N and MD in men may be greater than in women.
Psychological Medicine 09/2007; 37(8):1163-72. DOI:10.1017/S0033291707000244 · 5.94 Impact Factor
"This finding is the first that we are aware of examining a comparatively large sample of adolescents at risk for depression using a more refined operationalization of brooding rumination. The finding is underscored by the fact that the at risk and currently depressed group were comparable on the risk factor (EPQ-N), supporting our premise based on previous work that N is a relatively stable personality trait (e.g., Duggan et al., 1991). Moreover, among the adolescents who met criteria for current depression, rumination was associated with more severe levels of depressive symptoms, although this was only at the level of a trend for the more refined brooding sub-scale. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identifying high-risk adolescents and understanding first onset of depression in adolescence are important steps in reducing depression morbidity. There is compelling evidence that the personality dimension neuroticism is a risk factor for depression, but the vulnerability mechanism is not yet understood. This study examined the association between a hypothesized psychological vulnerability factor (rumination) and depression in adolescents.
A behavioural high-risk design differentiated a sample of 326 adolescents (aged 14-18) as either at normal or high risk for depression (operationalized as scores on a measure of neuroticism).
Adolescents at risk for depression reported more rumination than adolescents not at risk. We hypothesized that the well established relationship between neuroticism and depression would be mediated by rumination in cross-sectional analyses, and our findings suggest that rumination partially mediated this relationship.
The findings tentatively suggest that neuroticism acts as a risk factor for adolescent onset depression through increased tendency towards brooding rumination (i.e. moody self-evaluative dwelling) in response to depressed mood. Prospective and experimental research examining this mechanism is required.
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