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depression, interpersonal relationships, sense of belonging, social support



  1. Hagerty, Bonnie M.
  2. Williams, A. Reg


Background: A number of interpersonal phenomena have been linked to depression, including sense of belonging, social support, conflict, and loneliness.


Objectives: To examine the effects of the interpersonal phenomena of sense of belonging, social support, loneliness, and conflict on depression, and to describe the predictive value of sense of belonging for depression in the context of other interpersonal phenomenon.


Method: A sample of clients with major depressive disorder and students in a midwestern community college participated in the study by completing questionnaires.


Results: Path analysis showed significant direct paths as postulated, with 64% of the variance of depression explained by the variables in the model. Social support had only an indirect effect on depression, and this finding supported the buffer theory of social support. Sense of belonging was a better predictor of depression.


Conclusions: The study findings emphasize the importance of relationship-oriented experiences as part of assessment and intervention strategies for individuals with depression.