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Title: Depressive responses to stressors : a study in individual differences
Author: Hayworth, Hilda Jane
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1985
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From existing literature, attitudes of hostility, of intropunitiveness and of feeling unable to control events have been associated with susceptibility to stress and with depression. These characteristics were examined in relation to: (a) a laboratory stressor, and (b) a real-life stressor. In the laboratory, the stressor comprised unpleasantly loud tones, and the subjects' inability to control them. Skin-conductance recovery times were used as a possible indication of perceived threat. These were only slightly longer for subjects with high hostility, intropunitiveness and external locus of control scores, but significantly so for the most hostile under conditions of failure. Intro-punitiveness was significantly associated with post-stressor depressed mood and non-significantly associated with internally-directed attributions for task outcomes. Attributions of control and direction of hostility were inconsistent. The second part comprised field-work, where the potential stressor was that of childbirth, and the dependent variable, post-natally experienced depression. Perceptions of control and hostility were again 'inconsistent' in this large sample of women. Extreme scores, measured in pregnancy on high external control, high overall hostility and high externally-directed hostility were associated with post-natal depression. It was speculated that the conjunction between the 2 extremes of perceived control and direction of hostility might comprise 4 distinct attitudinal styles which might predispose to specific illness. Of these, it was hypothesized that intropunitiveness in combination with high external or high internal perceptions of control would be most predictive of later depression. While intropunitiveness alone did not predict post-natal depression, it proved to do so when found in conjunction with high external control as predicted, but not when in conjunction with high internal control.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Clinical Psychology