Nurse and Patient Reactions to Social Displays of Depression
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The reactions of health-care staff toward depressed medical patients may be instrumental in reinforcing depressive behavior of patients. This analogue study examined the interpersonal responses of nursing staff and hospitalized patients with chronic medical conditions to a target who appeared either to have a chronic physical impairment or to be able-bodied, and who enacted either a depressed or nondepressed role. It was predicted that while nurses and patients would have negative reactions to the depressed targets, patient reactions to the depressed target with a physical impairment would be less negative than nurse reactions on the basis of perceived similarity. Results indicated that both groups had negative perceptions of the depressed targets. The similarity hypothesis, however, was not explicitly supported. Implications are discussed and they relate to the potential impact of depression in medical units, and recommendations for psychological interventions are suggested.
author list (cited authors)
Elliott, T. R., Yoder, B., & Umlauf, R.