Anticonformity aspects of depression in mild depressive states


Requests for reprints should be sent to Jean E. Wallace, who is now at the Department of Psychiatry, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Controversial issues regarding the relation of conformity and anticonformity variants of dependency to depression and self-esteem were examined. The Willis-Hollander model of social influence and an experimental paradigm which permits differentiation of dependency responses into conformity and anticonformity subcategories were used. Ninety female college students who had been given the Beck Depression Inventory and a measure of self-esteem engaged in a perceptual judgment task, with two degrees of social influence. Depression and self-esteem were unrelated to independence and conformity. The main finding in the step-wise regression analyses was that depression was significantly related (p < .001) to the anticonformity variant of dependency. The assumption that depression is related to dependency was supported, but the conventional position that such dependency consists of the conforming variant, involving compliance and approval- and guidance-seeking, was not supported, at least within the range of depression sampled.