Depressive symptoms and unmitigated communion in support providers

Authors

  • Lihua Jin,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
    • Health Psychology Section, Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, the Netherlands.
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  • Nico W. Van Yperen,

    1. Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
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  • Robbert Sanderman,

    1. Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
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  • Mariët Hagedoorn

    1. Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
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Abstract

In this research, we argue and demonstrate that the association between enacted (un)supportive behaviour and depressive symptoms is a function of the providers' levels of unmitigated communion (UC). UC is characterized by overinvolvement in others' problems, self-neglect and externalized self-evaluation. These characteristics appear to predispose individuals high in UC to experience depressive symptoms. As anticipated, we show that enacted supportive behaviour was negatively associated with depressive symptoms (Study 1 and 2), and enacted unsupportive behaviour was positively associated with depressive symptoms (Study 2), but only among individuals low in UC. Our findings are consistent with the idea that for high UC individuals, enacting supportive behaviour, or not enacting unsupportive behaviour, is insufficient to reduce their high levels of depressive symptoms. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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