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The Association of Biological and Psychological Attributions for Depression with Social Support Seeking Intentions in Individuals with Depressive Symptoms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 May 2012

Rebecca K. Blais*
Affiliation:
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA
Keith D. Renshaw
Affiliation:
George Mason University, Fairfax, USA
*
Reprint requests to Rebecca Blais, University of Utah, Psychology Department, 380 South 1530 East Room, 502 Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA. E-mail: rebecca.blais@psych.utah.edu

Abstract

Background: Research suggests that biological and psychological attributions for depression are related to professional help-seeking, but the association of these attributions with informal support seeking in social relationships is unknown. As social support is linked with recovery from depression and a lower likelihood of experiencing future episodes of depression, it is important to understand factors that influence an individual's decision to seek social support. Aims: The present study examined depressed individuals’ own attributions for their depressive symptoms (i.e. personal attributions), perceptions of a friend's attributions for these symptoms (i.e. perceived attributions), and the depressed individuals’ willingness to seek social support from that friend. Method: Eighty-six individuals experiencing at least mild depressive symptoms completed self-report measures of personal attributions, perceived attributions, and a social support seeking intentions scale. Results: Participants’ own attributions for depressive symptoms were unrelated to their willingness to seek social support. In contrast, perceived biological attributions were related to greater help-seeking intentions, whereas perceived psychological attributions were associated with lower support seeking intentions. Conclusions: These results suggest that decisions to seek social support are more influenced by perceptions of others’ beliefs about depression than one's own beliefs.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2012

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