An examination of avoidance in major depression in comparison to social anxiety disorder

Behav Res Ther. 2014 May:56:82-90. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2014.03.005. Epub 2014 Mar 29.


The construct of avoidance has begun to receive attention in theoretical models and empirical investigations of depression. However, little is known about relative levels of avoidance across diagnostic categories or about the relationships between avoidance and other correlates of depression. The present study compared levels of avoidance across groups of depressed women without social anxiety disorder (MDD without SAD), depressed women with social anxiety disorder (MDD with SAD), women with social anxiety disorder (SAD), and nonclinical women, and investigated the relationships among avoidance, and sociotropy and autonomy, rumination, and negative and positive problem orientations within the clinically depressed group. Avoidance was found to be significantly higher in all clinical groups relative to the nonclinical group of women, and highest in the comorbid MDD with SAD group. Avoidance showed significant positive relationships with sociotropy, autonomy, rumination, and negative problem orientation, and a significant negative relationship with positive problem orientation within the overall sample of depressed women. These results suggest that avoidance should be given greater consideration in psychosocial models of depression and point to several important directions for future research.

Keywords: Avoidance; Behavioral; Cognitive; Coping; Depression.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Avoidance Learning*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / complications
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Problem Solving
  • Thinking
  • Young Adult