Reciprocal Relations Between Depressive Symptoms and Self-Criticism (but Not Dependency) Among Early Adolescent Girls (but Not Boys) Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent criticism of theories of personality vulnerability to depression posits that personality may be an outcome, rather than a cause, of depressive symptoms. In this study, we address this criticism, focusing on the personality dimensions of dependency and self-criticism (S. J. Blatt & D. C. Zuroff, 1992). Dependency, self-criticism, and depressive symptoms were assessed twice over a 1-year interval in a large sample of early adolescent girls and boys. A vulnerability model, in which dependency and self-criticism influence depressive symptoms, was contrasted with a “scar” model, in which depressive symptoms influence dependency and self-criticism, and with a reciprocal causality model, in which both constructs influence each other over time. Cross-lagged analyses using structural equation modeling supported a reciprocal causality model involving self-criticism (but not dependency) among girls (but not boys). Results suggest that in early adolescence, girls' self-criticism and depressive symptoms contribute to a vicious phenomenological cycle.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004