Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Amy Fiske.


Among treatment-seeking older adults, positive social ties are related to depression outcomes prospectively. Less is known regarding the role of negative social ties in relation to depression and well-being outcomes among patients in treatment. The current study adds to this literature through the cross-sectional and prospective examination of patients' appraisal of family members perceived criticism in relation to self-reported depressive symptom severity and psychological well-being In addition, potential moderators of these relations were examined, including personality variables (Neuroticism and Conscientiousness), cognitive functioning, and living status. adults 60 years of age and older newly (< 1 month after intake session) receiving treatment for depressive or anxious symptomatology at a university-affiliated outpatient clinic as part of an on-going study that assessed depression and decision-making in late life. Results demonstrated that individuals with increased perceived criticism also had greater depressive symptom severity, at least measured at one point in time. Perceived criticism failed to predict change in depression symptom severity in the prospective analyses. Similarly, perceived criticism was associated with lower psychological well-being in the cross-sectional analyses; however, perceived criticism failed to predict change in psychological well-being in prospective analyses. No significant interactions were found with perceived criticism, suggesting at least in the current study, personality variables, cognitive functioning, and living status did not qualify the relation between perceived criticism and depression symptom severity or change in depression symptom severity over time. EI was not significantly associated with depression symptom severity and psychological well-being cross-sectionally and prospectively, after controlling for perceived criticism and perceived social support from family. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.