Is self-criticism unique for depression? A comparison with social phobia Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: This study further examined the diagnostic specificity of the self-critical personality dimension, as measured by the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire (DEQ; Blatt et al., 1976. The Depressive Experiences Questionnaire. Yale University Press, New Haven). METHODS: Patients with major depression (n=26) were compared to social phobia patients (n=32). RESULTS: Depressed patients scored significantly higher on the DEQ Self-Criticism dimension. However, when current level of depressed mood was controlled for, self-criticism was not a significant predictor of diagnostic status. Further, the level of DEQ self-criticism reported by patients with social phobia was almost three times greater than the level reported in an earlier diagnostic specificity study with panic disorder patients [Bagby et al., 1992. Diagnostic specificity of the dependent and self-critical personality dimensions in major depression. J. Affect. Disord. 26, 59-64]. LIMITATIONS: Only one measure of self-criticism was used in this study, and the research design was cross-sectional rather than prospective. CONCLUSIONS: Self-criticism is not unique to major depression, and this personality dimension may be implicated in other forms of psychopathology [Blatt, 1991. A cognitive morphology of psychopathology. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 179, 449-458]. Some cognitive features believed to play an important role in depression may also be salient in persons with social phobia.


  • Cox, Brian J
  • Rector, Neil A
  • Bagby, R Michael
  • Swinson, Richard
  • Levitt, Anthony J
  • Joffe, Russell T

publication date

  • January 2000