Arch Hellen Med, 39(2), March-April 2022, 208-216
The congruency hypothesis
and symptom specificity in depression
OBJECTIVE Assessment of the congruency hypothesis, namely, the interaction of the personality dimensions of dependency and self-criticism with adverse life events, that generates depressive symptoms, and evaluation of the symptom specificity of personality features, that is, their proneness to precipitation of specific depressive emotions.
METHOD The Depressive Experiences Questionnaire (DEQ) was administered to 323 outpatients with depression and 391 healthy individuals recruited from waiting areas of psychiatric clinic and non-clinical settings, respectively, along with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and two specially designed questionnaires about stressful events and depressive emotions. Hierarchical regression analysis was carried out to explore the associations.
RESULTS Vulnerability factors were associated with congruent negative conditions to predict depressive symptoms and unique depressogenic feelings for all the participants, but not for the two samples separately. The dependent healthy individuals, however, generated to a significant degree anaclitic feelings in response to matching stressful events. Apart from the pair dependency-achievement related events with regard to patients with depression, the non corresponding combination of factors and stress produced no significant impact on depression.
CONCLUSIONS The study findings partly support both the congruency and symptom specificity hypotheses in the generation of depression.
Key words: Dependency, Depression, Self-criticism, Stress, Vulnerability.