Despite attention on overlap and distinction between generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and major depressive disorder (MDD), interpersonal specificity (distinct, prototypical interpersonal features) between the disorders has been understudied. There is emerging evidence for such specificity (e.g., Erickson et al., 2016), but most studies relied on self-report, and not all studies controlled for shared variance between the disorders, complicating interpretation of findings. The present study extended the literature by examining unique interpersonal correlates of GAD, SAD, and MDD symptoms on self- and informant-report, and how self-informant agreement (both mean-level and correlation) in perception of interpersonal affiliation, dominance, and distress varied as a function of the symptoms. 369 college-aged participants (43% with clinical-level symptoms for at least one of the disorders (GAD, SAD, MDD), 57% non-disordered) and up to three of their significant others rated participants’ interpersonal problems (interpersonal behaviors that were difficult to engage in or engaged in excessively). We found evidence for exploitable tendencies in GAD, socially avoidant and nonassertive tendencies in SAD, and coldness in MDD based on self-report, but not on informant-report. Although self-other correlation was positive across outcomes, participants endorsed higher affiliation and interpersonal distress and lower dominance relative to informants. GAD, SAD, and MDD symptoms showed distinct moderating effects on these self-informant discrepancies. GAD symptoms predicted over-endorsing affiliation, SAD predicted under-endorsing dominance and affiliation, and MDD predicted no discrepancies in affiliation and dominance. The results speak to potential differentiation of the disorders based on distinct patterns of self-other discrepancy in interpersonal perceptions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health