Personal vulnerability, life events, and depressive symptoms: a test of a specific interactional model.
We tested Beck's (1983) hypothesis that depressive symptoms occur when an individual experiences a negative life event that specifically matches the individual's personal motivational vulnerability. Ninety-eight undergraduates completed measures of depression level, recent life events, and sociotropic and autonomous achievement motivations. Consistent with the theory, sociotropy was associated with depression level and also served as a moderator of the relations between depression and frequency of recent negative social events. However, sociotropy also demonstrated nonpredicted interactive effects with negative events categorized a priori as autonomy related. Autonomy was unrelated to depression and showed no evidence of being a vulnerability to any type of life event. The findings generally support the value of examining the role in depression of interactions between personality characteristics and life events, although they do not support the specific matching predictions.
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