Even when theorists, researchers, and therapists themselves forget, depressed people will say that their environment in interpersonal relationships matter: Relationships perceived as good buffer them from depression, and involvement in relationships perceived as bad contributes to and maintains their depression.

Depressed individuals frequently know that they are in a "Catch 22" dilemma of needing the very people whom their symptoms disaffect. Processes such as "excessive reassurance seeking" and "negative feedback seeking" may be involved in the cycle of depression. Depressed individuals may also realize that their therapy needs to focus on improving the nature of their relationships. It is the insight that depressed people are often correct in these perceptions that is the lasting and most profound contribution of the interpersonal approach to understanding the antecedents, maintenance, and treatment of depression.

The interpersonal approach that depression is an interactional style has become highly influential in the field and has produced several lines of empirical study and of therapeutic intervention. Certainly, a principal goal of The Interactional Nature of Depression: Advances in Interpersonal Approaches is to claim a central place for this tradition of thought and science in the collection of fundamental views on depression.

This book brings together interpersonal, cognitive, stress and coping, developmental, and social psychology perspectives into a more complex and more comprehensive approach to depression theory and research.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors


I. The Study of Interpersonal Variables in Depression

  1. On the Interpersonal Nature of Depression: Overview and Synthesis
    —Thomas Joiner, James C. Coyne, and Janice Blalock
  2. The Emergence of an Interpersonal Approach to Depression
    —Constance Hammen

II. The Interpersonal and the Personal in Depression

  1. Social Context and Depression: An Integrative Stress and Coping Framework
    —Charles J. Holahan, Rudolf H. Moos, and Liza A. Bonin
  2. Interpersonal and Cognitive Pathways Into the Origins of Attributional Style: A Developmental Perspective
    —Beth A. Haines, Gerald I. Metalsky, Aimee L. Cardamone, and Thomas Joiner
  3. Loneliness, Shyness, and Depression: The Etiology and Interrelationships of Everyday Problems in Living
    —Jody C. Dill and Craig A. Anderson
  4. Schematic and Interpersonal Conceptualizations of Depression: An Integration
    —Norman B. Schmidt, Kristen L. Schmidt, and Jeffery E. Young
  5. Vulnerable Self-Esteem and Social Processes in Depression: Toward an Interpersonal Model of Self-Esteem Regulation
    —John E. Roberts and Scott M. Monroe
  6. Striving for Confirmation: The Role of Self-Verification in Depression
    —R. Brian Giesler and William B. Swann, Jr.

III. Emerging Interpersonal Models of Depression

  1. Silencing the Self: Inner Dialogues and Outer Realities
    —Dana Crowley Jack
  2. Sociophysiology and Depression
    —Russell Gardner, Jr. and John S. Price

IV. Depression and the Response of Significant Others

  1. Marital Discord and Depression: The Potential of Attachment Theory to Guide Integrative Clinical Intervention
    —Page Anderson, Steven R. H. Beach, and Nadine J. Kaslow
  2. Depressed Parents and Family Functioning: Interpersonal Effects and Children's Functioning and Development
    —E. Mark Cummings and Patrick T. Davies
  3. A Social–Cognitive Model of Interpersonal Processes in Depression
    —William P. Sacco

V. Postscript

  1. Thinking Interactionally About Depression: A Radical Restatement
    —James C. Coyne

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors

Reviews & Awards

In the early 1980's, James C. Coyne issued a provocative challenge to the field when he said, "It's important to know what depressed people's heads are in as it is to know what is in their heads." This challenge inspired powerful work on the interpersonal context of depression. This book edited by Thomas Joiner and James C. Coyne presents research and theory about the kinds of interpersonal environments in which people become depressed and, sometimes, remain depressed. Many of the authors take a truly transactional perspective and describe the reciprocal relationship between depressed people and their interpersonal environments. Whereas early statements of the interpersonal perspective on depression were antagonistic to cognitive approaches, many of the contributors present tantalizing integrations of cognitive and interpersonal approaches to this disorder. Joiner and Coyne's book makes it abundantly clear that to explain depression we must understand its interpersonal context. This book is a "must" for all depression researchers, regardless of orientation. I plan to build a seminar around the book.
—Lyn Yvonne Abramson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The traditional view of depression conceptualized it as an internal emotional disorder which may have interpersonal symptomology, such as withdrawal from others and possibly interpersonal conflict. Scattered throughout the depression literature, however, has been a long history of various theorists and researchers calling for the inclusion of interpersonal factors in the lists of etiological, initiating, maintaining, and treatment factors in depression. These heralds have come from a number of theoretical and research traditions dispersed widely across the clinical and academic landscape. Joiner and Coyne have brought together these distant voices to present their different cases for the centrality of interpersonal factors in depression.
—Lynn P. Rehm, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Houston

The chapters in this impressive volume demonstrate that interpersonal functioning is a vital and too often neglected aspect of depression. The book challenges us to integrate cognitive and interpersonal approaches to gain a full appreciation of depression. The chapters cover a wide range of topic, beautifully written, and will be useful both for clinical practitioners and for those who study depression. This volume documents that great advances have been made in understanding the interpersonal nature of depression since Coyne's 1976 seminal paper. Coyne's provocative chapter in this new volume should be requires reading for everyone who studies psychopathology. Depressed people have known all along that their interpersonal relationships are inseparable from their emotional state—this book shows that clinical researchers are finally heeding that message.
—Todd F. Heatherton, PhD, Department of Psychology, Dartmouth University