Rejection sensitivity as a vulnerability marker for depressive symptom deterioration in men
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPLoS ONE. 2017, 12 (10), 1-11. 10.1371/journal.pone.0185802
Consistent across time and cultures, men and male adolescents older than 14 years of age appear underrepresented in mood disorders, and are far less likely than women to seek psychological help. The much higher rate of suicide amongst males suggests that depression in men might be underreported. One of the core human motives is to seek acceptance by others and avoid rejection. Rejection Sensitivity (RS) has been conceptualized as the cognitive- affective processing disposition to anxiously expect, readily perceive, and intensely respond to cues of rejection in the behavior of others. RS has been previously linked with the onset and course of depression, butÐas yetÐhas not been investigated longitudinally in a clinical population. We investigated the predictive role of RS to symptom deterioration 6 months after end-of- treatment in 72 male inpatients with depressive spectrum disorder. The BDI was administered at intake, end-of-treatment and 6 month follow-up. RS scores were obtained at intake. Rejection Sensitivity had additional predictive power on BDI scores at 6 months follow-up controlling for BDI scores at end-of-treatment (ΔR2 = .095). The results are discussed in terms of the importance of targeting RS during treatment, and highlight the fact that therapeutic follow-up care is paramount. Future research should investigate possible mediators of the RS±relapse-to-depression association, such as self-blame, rumination, neuroticism, pessimism, emotion dysregulation, and low self-esteem.