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Depression and the melancholic temperament
European Journal of Personality (1995)
  • David Watson, University of Iowa
  • Lee A Clark

We examine how depression relates to two broad affective dispositions which we call Negative Temperament and Positive Temperament. Depressed individuals characteristically display a particular combination of these traits (high Negative/low Positive Temperament), which also defines the traditional melancholic type. Other evidence, however, suggests that this pattern is not unique to depression, but may also characterize other types of disorder: high Negative Temperament, in particular, appears to be nonsignificantly associated with distress-based psychopathology. Finally, we review data indicating that the etiology of these relations is highly complex. Specifically, it appears that (i) temperament influences the development and course of depression; (ii) depressive episodes can lead to significant changes in temperament, some of which may be permanent; and (iii) temperament and depression may reflect, in part, a common genetic diathesis.

Publication Date
December, 1995
Citation Information
David Watson and Lee A Clark. "Depression and the melancholic temperament" European Journal of Personality Vol. 9 Iss. 5 (1995)
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