Social-cognitive responses to depression and physical stigma Academic Article uri icon


  • Interpersonal models of depression have received mixed support in experimental studies. Investigations to date have not examined spontaneous subject social-cognitive processes that may mediate social responses to a depressed person. In this study, subjects viewed a videotaped interview of a target who behaved in either a depressed or nondepressed manner, and appeared either physically disabled or able-bodied. Self-report measures of interpersonal rejection and subject mood were collected. Subjects also completed a thought-listing procedure with instructions to write down any thoughts currently and recently experienced. Depressed targets elicited more negative evaluations and fewer positive evaluations from subjects. Additionally, subjects had more thoughts about supporting and offering assistance to the depressed-able-bodied target. Target depression did not elicit more thoughts indicative of social and interpersonal rejection, contrary to predictions. Results indicate that after brief exposure to a depressed person, subjects form many negative opinions about that person. © 1989 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

author list (cited authors)

  • Elliott, T. R., & Frank, R. G.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • September 1989