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Cognitive-personality style as vulnerability to depression in patients with coronary artery disease: roles of sociotropy and autonomy

journal contribution
posted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by L Stafford, H J Jackson, Michael BerkMichael Berk
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the cognitive-personality styles of sociotropy and autonomy and their component subscales are useful for explaining depressogenic vulnerability in a population of individuals with coronary artery disease (CAD) and to better understand the psychosocial etiology of depression in CAD. Depression occurs commonly in patients with CAD and is associated with substantial disability. METHOD: A prospective study of 193 recently hospitalized CAD patients was conducted. Data were collected from medical records and by self-report at 3 (Time 1, T1) and 9 (Time 2, T2) months post discharge. The association between cognitive-personality styles and depression was tested in hierarchical linear regression equations controlling for clinical and demographic confounders. RESULTS: High levels of autonomy were significantly associated with increased depressive symptomatology at T1 (p < .001) and T2 (p < .001). The association between autonomy and change in depression approached significance (p = .07). Sociotropy was not a significant predictor of depression at any time. The component subscales of the sociotropy and autonomy measures explained more variance in depressive symptomatology at T1 and T2 as well as change in depression than did the composite measures. The perfectionism subscale of autonomy was the most important predictor of depression at T1 and T2 contributing 5.3% and 5.1% of unique variance in depression, respectively. There was a trend for the association between perfectionism and change in depression (p = .06). CONCLUSION: Cognitive-personality characteristics are an important predictor of depression in recently hospitalized patients with CAD. The findings suggest a clinical benefit in early detection of highly autonomous patients, particularly those who exhibit perfectionism, coupled with appropriate cognitive intervention and collaborative treatment planning.



Psychosomatic medicine






63 - 69


Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins


Philadelphia, Pa.







Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, The American Psychosomatic Society