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Friday, 8 October 2010

Patient Personality Can Hinder Detection of Depression

"Friends and family members of a person who is highly outgoing and fun-loving and who is likely to experience happiness and excitement often miss the signs that indicate the person is depressed."

"When a person who has enjoyed socializing and whose mood normally is positive becomes depressed, friends and family often don't recognize it. Depression is inconsistent with the expectations that people have," said Paul R. Duberstein.

When the research began, researchers hypothesized that friends and family would miss depression in a person who is introverted.

"But our research showed the opposite to be true," Duberstein said. "We found the signs of depression were more likely to be missed in people with an outgoing, extraverted personality."

The researchers also found that friends and family missed signs of depression in a person characterized as "agreeable," someone who is more trusting and more altruistic or who might be considered a conformist.

"It is important for people to understand that people who are highly extraverted and highly agreeable can become depressed and that the signs of depression for these people are more likely to be missed or detected by friends and family," Duberstein said "Don't assume that because someone is outgoing or agreeable that they are not vulnerable to becoming depressed."




But surely you'd think we'd be more likely to notice if our usually outgoing friend was depressed? Apparently not! But why is this? Perhaps because we're not looking for it, we're just refusing to see it. If somebody is very happy and outgoing, this is the image we have of them in our head, even if they have not been acting this way recently. Perhaps it is just our selective attention that is the problem!

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