Self-criticism and major depression: An evolutionary perspective
Version of Record online: 31 DEC 2010
2005 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume 44, Issue 4, pages 505–519, November 2005
How to Cite
Sturman, E. and Mongrain, M. (2005), Self-criticism and major depression: An evolutionary perspective. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 44: 505–519. doi: 10.1348/014466505X35722
- Issue online: 31 DEC 2010
- Version of Record online: 31 DEC 2010
- Received 3 June 2003; revised version received 5 July 2004
Objectives. This study sought to incorporate the personality style of self-criticism within an evolutionary framework to help explain its relationship to major depression. It was expected that self-critics would engage in poor social comparisons and have greater feelings of internal entrapment, which are both processes related to depression by evolutionary thinkers.
Design. A cross-sectional design was employed such that participants were first interviewed and then completed several questionnaires.
Methods. The sample consisted of 146 graduate students who had experienced at least one prior episode of major depression, which was confirmed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID). Participants were subsequently administered the Center for epidemiological studies depression scale (CESD), Depressive Experiences Questionnaire (DEQ), Social comparison rating scale (SCRS), and Entrapment scale (ES).
Results. Regression analyses revealed that self-criticism significantly predicted internal entrapment and social comparison when controlling for mood and for levels of dependency. Subsequent Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) revealed that a factor of self-reported entrapment and social comparison mediated the effect of self-criticism on the number of previous episodes of depression.
Conclusion. These findings suggest that part of the reason self-critics are vulnerable to clinical episodes of depression lies in their subjective experience of entrapment and in their negative social comparisons.