Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford


  • Ellen M. KesselEmail author
  • Brandon L. Goldstein
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1063-1


A depressive personality style is characterized by a constellation of traits including: joyless, despondent, insecure, guilt-prone, ruminative, indecisive, anxious, quiet and shy, and lacking in vitality and initiative.


First, we provide a historical background on the depressive personality. Then, we examine how a depressive personality style can be understood in terms of more basic temperament dimensions, extraversion/positive emotionality, and neuroticism/negative emotionality.


The origins of a depressive personality style can be traced as far back as antiquity. Hippocrates, and later Galen, attributed the clinical state of melancholia to an excess of black bile, whereas a lesser and more stable imbalance of the four humors, predominated by black bile, undergird a melancholic disposition characterized by fear and sadness (Maher and Maher 1994). The first clinical conceptualizations of a depressive personality style emerged when the classical...


Depressive Personality Dysthymic Disorder Ruminative Response Style Black Bile Major Depressive Illness 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Beth A. Visser
    • 1
  1. 1.Lakehead UniversityOrilliaCanada