depressives, or at least “neurotic” depressives, are likely to perceive their parents as having provided an insufficiency of care and/or as having been overprotective.

from “Parental ‘Affectionless Control’ as an Antecedent to Adult Depression: A Risk Factor Delineated” (Parker, G. 1983 Arch Gen Psychiatry)

This is terribly interesting to me, since it reflects me as a neurotic depressive and my view of my parents.

Of course, the Parental Bonding Instrument used to determine parenting style is self-reported, and therefore it is difficult to say if “affectionless control” actually came from the parent(s) or if it was simply perceived that way. As well, it does not make parenting style a causal factor of dysthymia/neurotic depression, but rather, points out a correlation one might want to take note of.

Leave a comment


  1. Thanks for sharing this. It really struck me, similar to yourself in that it reflects my own views of my upbringing. I would love to see an analysis of these results vs their parents. In both cases it would be perception though. I guess no unbiased measure of “sufficiency of care” exists.

    • That would be interesting! Although I doubt my parents would admit to being sub-optimal, even if they tested that way…

  2. Interesting. Although the word perceives bothers me. I perceive because I know it to be true…

    • You’re not the only one it bothers, you’ve hit on a major epistemological topic here! What one perceives is true…to that person, but it is not necessarily true to another. Think of a person looking at a colour-blindness test: if they are colour-blind, they will only perceive one colour in the circle and it is true for them that there is only one colour, but if a person with average colour-receptors sees the same circle, they will perceive two colours and it it true for them.


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