Social support increases in the year after inpatient treatment of depression

W. Vaughn McCall, Beth A. Reboussin, Stephen R. Rapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


High levels of social support are reported to protect against major depressive episode (MDE), but little is known about how social support changes during MDE. In this study, we measured total social support and four subtypes of social support in 75 psychiatric inpatients at the time of admission and one year later. The four subtypes of social support were tangible support, affectionate support, positive social interaction, and emotional/informational support. The majority of the sample were women (81%) with a mean age of 53.7 ± 14.9 years. The severity of depressive symptoms improved over the year and was accompanied by a significant increase in two types of social support - positive social interaction, and emotional/informational support. There was no significant change in tangible support or affectionate support. Linear regression showed that changes in all four subtypes were correlated with changes in depressive severity after adjustment for age, gender, and baseline clinical characteristics. While Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) scores also improved throughout the period of observation, and while the change in IADL scores were significantly associated with changes in social support, change in IADL scores were no longer significantly associated with change in social support after adjustment for change in depression severity. These results suggest that supportive relationships improve after psychiatric hospitalization for MDE, and these changes are best explained by reduction in depression severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-110
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • Activities of daily living
  • Depression
  • Social support
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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