British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 37 Issue 4 (November 1998), Pages 371-473

Dependency and self‐criticism in bipolar and unipolar depressed women (pages 409-414)

Objectives. The dependency and self‐criticism scores of women with histories of either unipolar disorder (N = 74) or bipolar disorder (N = 20) or no psychiatric history (N = 24) were compared to determine the influence of state depression on these personality dimensions.

Design. All women completed the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire and the Beck Depression Inventory. Patients were divided into currently depressed and remitted groups.

Results. Currently depressed women with unipolar disorder were more self‐critical and dependent than non‐psychiatric controls; women with unipolar disorder whose depression remitted were more self‐critical only. Women in both the depressed and remitted bipolar groups were more self‐critical than controls. Depressed bipolar patients did not differ from the controls in their level of dependency; remitted bipolar patients were significantly less dependent than controls.

Conclusions. Dependency needs in depressed women are heavily influenced by mood state. Self‐criticism appears to be a characterological trait in both major depression and bipolar disorder. Women with bipolar disorder in remission report fewer dependency needs than women with no history of psychiatric disorder. The data provide partial support for Blatt's (1974) hypothesis that dependency and self‐criticism reflect relatively stable personality dimensions in patients with a mood disorder.

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