Humans have an intrinsic need for social connection; thus, it is crucial to understand depression in an interpersonal context. Interpersonal theories of depression posit that depressed individuals tend to interact with others in a way that elicits rejection, which increases their risk for future depression. In this review, we summarize the interpersonal characteristics, risk factors, and consequences of depression in the context of the relevant theories that address the role of interpersonal processes in the onset, maintenance, and chronicity of depression. Topics reviewed include social skills, behavioral features, communication behaviors, interpersonal feedback seeking, and interpersonal styles as they relate to depression. Treatment implications are discussed in light of the current research on interpersonal processes in depression, and the following future directions are discussed: developing integrative models of depression, improving measurement of interpersonal constructs, examining the association between interpersonal processes in depression and suicide, and tailoring interventions to target interpersonal processes in depression.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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