Is There a Relationship Between Depression and Crying? A Review

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crying, depression/diagnosis, humans, depression measures

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Objective: To conduct a systematic examination of the relationship between depression and crying by reviewing all relevant theory and empirical data including the performance of crying items in measures of depression.

Method: Review of the extant literature on depression and crying using PubMed, PsychInfo and Google Scholar databases.

Results: Scores on crying items of depression inventories correlate moderately with overall depression severity. Otherwise, there is surprisingly little evidence for the widespread claim that depression leads to more frequent and/or easier crying. There is also little empirical support for the competing claim that severely depressed individuals lose their capacity to cry.

Conclusion: Current claims about the relationship between depression and crying lack a robust empirical foundation. Assessment instruments and diagnostic systems for mood disorders are inconsistent in how they handle crying as a symptom. Further work to investigate the causes and the context of crying in depressed patients is needed.

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Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, v. 115, issue 5, p. 340-351