Article |

Coping Behaviors as Predictors of the Course of Clinical Depression

Gordon Parker, MD, PhD; Laurence Brown, PhD; Ilse Blignault
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(6):561-565. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800060055007.
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• We assessed a large sample of nonmelancholic, depressed subjects, using a self-report measure we developed, to determine behavioral coping dimensions and the predictive validity of the measure. A principal-components analysis of measure scores suggested dimensions of distraction, support seeking, self-consolation, recklessness, affect reduction, and help seeking, largely replicating findings in nonclinical groups. Factor scores on each dimension were calculated for the subsample of depressive subjects consulting a psychiatrist. Those baseline scores were examined against subse quent improvement in depression levels at six and 20 weeks. A significant and consistent predictor of a poor outcome was a higher initial score on the self-consolation dimension. A better outcome was weakly associated at six and 20 weeks with higher scores on affect reduction, whereas higher distraction scores were weakly associated with a poorer outcome at 20 weeks. The study thus confirmed the relevance of coping behaviors in a clinically depressed group and demonstrated the predictive strength of the measure.


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