Retreating to safety: testing the social risk hypothesis model of depression
The Social risk hypothesis contends that mild to moderate depression has evolved to promote belonging in small communities by making members sensitive to signs of rejection and motivated to restore their social value (Allen & Badcock, 2003). Using self-report data from 397 working adults, structural equation modeling examined the relationships between secure attachment, social comparison, defeat, depression, submissive behaviors, interpersonal sensitivity, and self-esteem. The analysis provided empirical support for an evolved adaptive mechanism functioning in mild to moderate depression. However, the moderating impact of social investment potential as an internal gauge measuring one's ratio of social value and social burden was only partially supported. Overall, the results of this study support the adaptive nature of mild to moderate depression as a mechanism that evolved to help sustain crucial restorative relationships and to prevent dangerous social risks.