Interpersonal Theory of Gotlib Depression

Interpersonal theories that attempt to explain the origin and maintenance of depression, mainly focus on relationship aspects, although they also include intrapersonal elements. They are based on the approaches of H. Sullivan, the Palo Alto school and general systems theory. In addition, his interest is focused on the development of effective therapies rather than theoretical models.

In this article we will know Interpersonal Theory of Gotlib DepressionThis raises the point that depression begins with a causal chain triggered by a stressor and which includes variables of various types.

    Interpersonal theory of Gotlib depression: features

    Gotlib’s interpersonal theory of depression (19871, 1992) is a trying theory explains the origin and maintenance of depression (Depressive disorder, according to DSM-5).

    It constitutes, along with Coyne’s interpersonal theory of depression (1976), one of the most representative theories of relational theories to explain this disorder. More precisely, it is an interpersonal-cognitive theory, because also includes important cognitive elements.

    Ian H. Gotlib is an American psychologist with a 1981 doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Waterloo. He is currently working as a professor of psychology at Stanford University and is director of the Stanford Laboratory of Neurodevelopment, Affection, and Psychopathology.

    fundamental ideas

    Interpersonal Theory of Gotlib Depression considers the key symptom of depression to be interpersonal in origin. The main causal mechanism that causes depression is a negative interpretation of a stressful event.

    On the other hand, they are given a number of psychological factors of diathesisThat is, a number of conditions that predispose to the onset of depression. These factors are:

    • Negative cognitive patterns.

    • Lack of social skills and adaptation.

    causal chain

    Gotlib’s interpersonal theory of depression raises the development of a causal chain in depression initiated by a stressor, Whether it is interpersonal (for example a romantic break-up), intrapersonal (for example low self-esteem) and / or biochemical (decrease in serotonin, for example).

    The impact of the stressor depends on external factors and the vulnerability of the person. On another side, vulnerability is acquired by the person in childhood, Through unfavorable family experiences or negative parenting styles.

    The mentioned stressors are also subdivided into others:

    1. Interpersonal factors

    They relate to the quality and quantity of social support received (But above all, perceived), with cohesion with friends or family and with the management of family problems.

    2. Intrapersonal factors

    Intrapersonal stressors, in turn, are divided into two types:

    2.1. cognitive factors

    They include negative or depressogenic patterns, cognitive distortions, Overestimated ideas, etc.

    2.2. behavioral factors

    include social skills and coping skills deficits, Others.

    Social skills allow us to communicate and build relationships with others successfully, while allowing us to stand up for our ideas confidently. Coping skills allow us to deal with things that happen to us (whether by external or internal factors) adaptively, emotionally and behaviorally.

      Maintain depression

      Gotlib’s interpersonal theory of depression includes 3 elements that explain why depression persists over time:

      1. Autofocus

      Autofocus consists of process by which we direct our attention to any aspect of ourselves. It now encompasses our own physical sensations, emotions or thoughts, as well as the goals we set for ourselves. This involves being aware of the information generated internally.

      It is just the opposite of directing attention to environmental (external) stimuli and becoming aware of the information contained in the medium obtained by the senses or sensory receptors.

      2. Interpersonal factors

      consist of poor social skills and unsuitable personasAdded to the environmental response to their symptomatic behavior (which is usually a negative response and rejection).

      This idea is also defended by Coyne (1976) in his interpersonal theory of depression. This author explains that the depressed person’s persistent demands gradually become aversive towards others, leading to rejection that confirms the negative view of oneself (increasing their feeling of dysphoria).

      3. Negative cognitive bias

      Finally, Gotlib’s interpersonal theory of depression speaks of negative cognitive biases as factors in the maintenance of depression, such as they lead to increased sensitivity and attention to negative aspectsAs well as a negative (even catastrophic) interpretation of the situation, leaving depression in a sort of “vicious circle”.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Belloch, A .; Sandín, B. and Ramos, F. (2010). Manual of psychopathology. Volumes I and II. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.
      • Pérez, F. (2016). Depressive disorders: theories according to science. Supera, clinical psychology.

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