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122. Social feedback, Depression, and Self Criticism
Social feedback plays an important role in risk for depression. We examined individual differences in responses to social feedback – criticism and praise – and compared two potential sources: parents and peers. Based on prior work (Hooley et al 2009) we created short critical, praising, and neutral social-feedback statements and asked 245 Mturk workers to rate them for self-relevance and to indicate the likelihood that their parents and peers would say these statements about them. Participants also completed depression and self-criticism questionnaires. Results showed that more depressed individuals rated critical statements as more self-relevant and rated praising statements as less self-relevant; importantly, self-criticism fully mediated this effect. A 3-way interaction emerged between depression severity, statement type (critical, praising, neutral), and statement source (parents, peers). Regardless of depression severity, peers (vs. parents) were perceived as more likely to say praising and neutral statements. However, individuals with mild depression (BDI<19) perceived peers and parents as similarly likely to criticize them, whereas individuals with moderate-to-severe depression perceived parents (vs. peers) as more likely to criticize them. Our results suggest that self-criticism is implicated in perception of social-feedback in depression, and highlight the importance of examining the role of parents vs. peers in depression risk.