A Multisource Approach to Self-Critical Vulnerability to Depression: The Moderating Role of Attachment


concerning this article should be addressed to Avi Besser, Ph.D., Sapir Academic College, D.N. Hof Ashkelon 79165, Israel. Tel: (+972)-8-6802869. Fax: (+972) 8-6610783, or to Beatriz Priel, Ph.D., Department of Behavioral Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel. Tel: (+972)-8-6472068. Fax: (+972)-8-6900046. E-mail may be sent to: besser@mail.sapir.ac.il or to bpriel@bgumail.bgu.ac.il


The present study investigated the effects of self-criticism, dependency, and attachment variables in depression among couples. We utilized a multisource design that involved self-reports and spouse reports of personality and depression. This approach enabled us to explore the patterns of relations between self-reported and the spouse's report of the partner's view of self-criticism, dependency, and attachment dimensions, as well as the contribution of the latter to the moderation of distress. Participants were 120 couples in their first marriages. It was found that: (1) Self- and spouses' reported self-criticism are both associated with depression; (2) negative assessments of personality factors and attachment models by the self and spouse contribute uniquely in predicting depressive symptomatology; and (3) beyond the covariation between target's depression and marital maladjustment, attachment models of self and of other as reported by both the self and spouse moderate the effects of self-reported personality vulnerability on depressive symptomatology. Our results indicate that self-ratings and ratings by others must both be considered in the context of depression in close interpersonal relationships. Beyond the methodological implications of multisource data, our findings support the view of depression as an interpersonal process.