Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Duncan Campbell

Commitee Members

Bryan Cochran, Christine Fiore, David Schuldberg, James Caringi




University of Montana


Major Depressive Disorder has been conceptualized from a number of theoretical perspectives. The present study aims to provide a theoretically integrated understanding of depression vulnerability. Cognitive and interpersonal theories of depressive vulnerability were considered simultaneously in a sample of undergraduate research participants. Study procedures included an attachment elicitation exercise, which was preceded by completion of a self-report measure of depressive and anxious affect. The attachment elicitation exercise was followed by self-report measures of relationship behavior, adult attachment style, cognitive vulnerability, depressive symptomatology, and additional self-report measures of affect. Results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that the effects of insecure attachment and cognitive personal style on relational behavior are complex. Anxiously attached, sociotropic individuals appear to utilize more passive-aggressive behaviors (i.e., negativity) to negotiate conflict and avoidantly attached, autonomous individuals reported engagement in more overt, distancing behaviors (i.e., negative escalation and withdrawal). Moreover, significant interactions between avoidant attachment and autonomy suggested that the greatest impact on behavior occurred when autonomy was high and avoidant attachment was low. It appears that avoidant attachment may suppress some of the negative emotional expressions or behaviors of highly autonomous individuals. Contrary to expectations, insecure attachment and cognitive personal style did not predict pre- to post-changes in depressive affect, although these relationships were significant for both pre-stress induction affect and post-stress induction affect. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.



© Copyright 2008 Elizabeth Anne Harwood