The observation that most individuals do not become depressed despite major
stressors whilst others may be vulnerable to relatively minor stressors has led to
considerable interest in the moderating role of individual characteristics in
predisposing individuals to depression. The existence of two distinct types of
personality vulnerability has been proposed, reflecting interpersonal or autonomy
related concerns. This distinction has received considerable empirical support;
however, methodological problems in existing research have limited understanding
of the relationship between life-events, personal vulnerability and the onset of
depression. This study utilised both interview and psychometric data to explore
sociotropic and autonomous beliefs in relation to depression vulnerability as related
to childhood experience, belief congruent life-events and psychosocial factors.
Participants were classified as currently depressed, recovered depressed and never
depressed in a between groups design. Multivariate parametric and non-parametric
statistics were used to analyse the data. Results are discussed in terms of the
predictions of the diathesis-stress model as well as the elaborations possible by
consideration of qualitative data.