Interpersonal relatedness and self-definition in late adulthood depression: Personality predispositions, and protective factors

Avi Besser1, Beatriz Priel2
1Sapir Academic College, Israel
2Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Cite this article:  Besser, A., & Priel, B. (2005). Interpersonal relatedness and self-definition in late adulthood depression: Personality predispositions, and protective factors. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 33, 351-382.

Volume 33 Issue 4 | e1403 | Published: June 2005 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2005.33.4.351

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In this study we addressed depression in late adulthood within the context of Blatt’s (1974, 1991) theory of development and vulnerabilities to depression. Participants were a sample of 237 Israeli community-dwelling old adults (age 65-75) in good health and functioning well. The authors assumed that in this developmental period, normally beset with questions about self-identity and interpersonal relatedness, the associations among self-criticism, the neediness component of dependency, and depressive symptomatology would be moderated by participants’ perceived social support as well as by their fear of death. As expected, the correlational results confirmed that depression in late adulthood is associated with self-criticism, neediness, fear of death, and low perceived social support. Additional results illustrated the protective role of efficacy and connectedness, as well as the buffering roles of social support and low fear of death in the relationship between vulnerabilities to depression and depressive symptoms in late adulthood. The overall findings highlight the relevance of personality vulnerability factors in depression in late adulthood and the need to consider a range of moderating factors that may serve to protectively buffer or exacerbate the impact of personality vulnerability factors.


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