Psychological Medicine

Original Articles

Perceived interpersonal risk factors of non-endogenous depression

I. Hickiea1 c1, G. Parkera1, K. Wilhelma1 and C. Tennanta1

a1 Mood Disorders Unit, School of Psychiatry (University of New South Wales), Prince Henry Hospital and the Academic Department of Psychiatry, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia


In a case-control study, two potential interpersonal risk factors of non-endogenous depression, namely a patient's perception of their current intimate partner as dysfunctional and a patient's recall of exposure to previous deprivational parenting, were quantified. The interpersonal characteristics of the partner were assessed principally by a brief self-report questionnaire, the Intimate Bond Measure (IBM). By cross-sectional and longitudinal comparison of this instrument with other interview-derived and self-report measures, the convergent, discriminant and predictive validity of the IBM in depressed patients was established. Further, little evidence of any distorting effect of depressed mood or neuroticism was detected. The perception of the current intimate partner as dysfunctional imparted a risk to non-endogenous depression of at least five times, while reported exposure to parental ‘affectionless control’ was quantified as a four times' risk. Importantly, IBM care scores predicted the course of the depressive disorder over a six-month period.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr I. Hickie, Division of Psychiatry, Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney, NSW 2036, Australia.