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Status integration theory suggests that the suicide rate of a population varies inversely with the stability and durability of social relationships within that population. Research indicates that nonconformity to the societal norm of cohabitation or marriage increases suicide risk, particularly for males. The present study reports relationship status data within a sample of male truck drivers (N=91) regarding typical and atypical symptoms of depression. Retrospective ratings were provided for symptom presentation for the last time participants recalled feeling 'down in the dumps'. Highlighting the degree of typical and atypical symptom overlap, participants meeting clinical criteria reported three times the number of atypical risk taking behaviours compared to those not meeting clinical criteria. Univariate analyses indicated that participants without a current romantic partner were significantly more likely to report psychomotor retardation, concentration difficulties, feelings of guilt, overwork, and aggressive expression of irritability in comparison to their partnered counterparts. There was no relationship status effect for items assessing impulsivity, self-harm, or thoughts of death. Results indicate that romantic partnership buffers the risk of some depressive symptomatology, and provides partial support for status integration theory.


School of Psychology

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Conference Paper

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