The nature and manifestation of hostility in depressed men and women

Lata Keswani, Fordham University


The present study undertook a descriptive study of hostility in depression by correcting for prior limitations in the literature by (a) providing a descriptive classification of hostility (b) selecting measures to provide a goodness of fit between the classification and measurement of hostility and, (c) examining gender differences in hostility. Data for the study were drawn from the NIMH Collaborative Study on the Psychobiology of Depression (Katz et al., 1979, 1984), specifically the State and Outcome Constructs derived through factor analyses on a battery of measures. 132 depressives and 80 normal controls were assessed at baseline. Depressives were subsequently treated with antidepressants for four weeks and assessed over treatment. Two out of four specified levels of hostility, specifically subjective anger and observer measures, were studied using self-report and observer measures, respectively. Video measures were also used to provide a finer assessment of overt irritability. These measures were represented by the Hostility Construct and Sub-constructs (video, self-report, and observer measures) which comprise the construct. The present study examined differences in hostility between depressed and normal men and women prior to treatment, and between depressed men and women over treatment. The present investigation also examined depressives with high hostility to see if they differed significantly from patients with less hostility on demographic (age, age of onset), clinical (severity of depression and general psychopathology) and treatment (treatment response) features. The present study demonstrated several important findings. Depressives exhibited higher hostility than normals on self-reports and observer reports, but did not differ on video measures of hostility. Men and women did not differ on any hostility measure, and depressed men and women did not differ on amount or type of hostility, at baseline and over treatment. Depressives tended to experience anger rather than express it in the presence of others. Although hostility was evident in all depressives, some depressives exhibited significantly higher hostility than other depressives. These depressives tended to be severely depressed, had higher general psychopathology and a poor treatment response as compared to depressives with less hostility.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Keswani, Lata, "The nature and manifestation of hostility in depressed men and women" (1993). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9324620.