The psychological organization of depression

Am J Psychiatry. 1980 Nov;137(11):1360-5. doi: 10.1176/ajp.137.11.1360.


On the basis of the intensive psychotherapy of about 40 depressed patients over the course of two decades, the authors describe three premorbid types of depressive personality: 1) one based on a "dominant other" relationship, 2) one based on a "dominant goal," and 3) one that is a form of character structure or personality disorder. They also describe typical childhood experiences of depressive adults and discuss their theory of the nature of depression as a human experience. They characterize depression as a limitation of alternate ways of thinking and as self-inhibition from new experiences.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child Rearing
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotherapy