Impact messages of depressed outpatients as perceived by their significant others: Profiles, therapeutic change, and relationship to outcome

Martin Grosse Holtforth, David Altenstein, Emily Ansell, Claudia Schneider, Franz Caspar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Whereas previous interpersonal research in depression has frequently used self-reports, patients' impact on others is rarely analyzed. We analyzed impacts of 180 depressed psychotherapy outpatients out of 832 diagnostically heterogeneous patients as rated by their significant others. Depressed patients were perceived as more submissive, hostile-submissive, and friendly-submissive, and as less dominant and friendly-dominant than patients with other principle disorders. After therapy, the 59 depressed patients whose significant others also provided data after treatment were perceived as less submissive (friendly-submissive, submissive, hostile-submissive) and more dominant and friendly-dominant. Whereas a decrease in submissiveness and hostile-submissiveness was associated with positive outcomes, decrease in friendly-submissiveness was unrelated. Cluster analyses suggested four distinct interpersonal subgroups. We discuss these results in terms of interpersonal theory and interpersonal assessment in depression therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-333
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012



  • Depression
  • Impact message
  • Interpersonal
  • Personality
  • Psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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