Interpersonal experiences of the clinically depressed: excessive reassurance seeking and negative feedback seeking
Stefanovich, Kaitlin Brenna
Master of Arts
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Individuals with depression can engage in aversive interpersonal behaviours, such as excessive reassurance seeking and negative feedback seeking, which can themselves be associated with problematic social relationships. Excessive reassurance seeking is characterized by repeatedly seeking information about one's worth or lovability, whereas negative feedback seeking is characterized by repeatedly seeking negative information about oneself that confirms one's negative self-views. There have been few studies to date that look at both of these seemingly irreconcilable behaviours and their relation to depression, and research has yet to fully support an integrative model that links the two with depression. This study further examined the associations between excessive reassurance seeking, negative feedback seeking, and depression within a clinical sample of 31 participants. Evidence was found for an association between excessive reassurance seeking and depressive symptoms, but no such association was found for negative feedback seeking and depressive symptoms. Perceived rejection fully mediated the association between excessive reassurance seeking and depression, but there was no evidence to suggest that self-esteem acted as a moderator of the associations between excessive reassurance seeking, negative feedback seeking, perceived rejection, and depressive symptoms. Implications for an integrated model are discussed, as are directions for future research. By understanding more about the associations between these behaviours and clinical depression, interventions can be developed that are aimed at reducing such problematic behaviours.