A meta-analytic review of social skill deficits in depression

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64 Scopus citations


The social skill deficit theory of depression states that a lack of social skill is related to the development of depression. However, the findings on this relationship are mixed, possibly due to a variety of variables surrounding the conceptualization and assessment of social skill, as well as the type of subjects used in these investigations. A meta-analysis was conducted to determine the magnitude of the relationship between depression and social skill as measured by self-reports, observer-ratings, and behavioral assessments. The results showed moderate, but not unequivocal, support for the social skill deficit theory. Depression was most strongly related to social skill deficits when they were measured via self-reports. Observer-ratings and behavioral analyses of social skill revealed weaker and more sporadic relationships with depression. Several moderator variables as well as a tendency toward negative self-evaluation in depression appear to influence these relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-308
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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