Effect of Depression Level and Length of Acquaintance on Reactions of Others to a Request for Help

Document Type


Publication Date



depression level & length of acquaintance, reaction of others to request for help, college students

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Examined an interpersonal-process view of depression by assessing 60 undergraduates' reactions to a request for help from a hypothetical depressed or nondepressed person with whom they had been acquainted for a relatively short (2 wks) or long (1 yr) period of time. Ss responded to each of the 4 hypothetical persons by indicating their probable affective reactions to the request, the number of minutes they would be willing to help, their desire for future social contact with the hypothetical person, and their expectations of future requests for help. Results indicate that Ss felt significantly more concern and were willing to provide significantly more time for long-term acquaintances. Requests from depressed persons elicited significantly more anger and social rejection but equal amounts of concern and willingness to help. This mixed response pattern was interpreted as providing partial support for an interpersonal-process view of depression. A path analysis provided limited support for J. C. Coyne's (see record 1979-01146-001) hypothesis that rejection of depressed persons results from the negative mood they induce in others.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, v. 49, issue 6, p. 1728-1737