Distinctions Between Hostile and Nonhostile Forms of Perceived Criticism From Others

Keith D. Renshaw, Rebecca K. Blais, Catherine M. Caska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Criticism and hostility from others are related to fluctuations in symptom severity across many disorders, including depression and anxiety. Objective coding systems typically allow for distinctions between criticism and hostility, but the primary self-report measure of perceptions of criticism (the Perceived Criticism Measure) contains no such distinction. This report presents results from two samples regarding the assessment of specific perceptions of hostile and nonhostile criticism. In addition to these specific perceptions, we assessed relationship satisfaction, perceptions of overall criticism, and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Perceptions of hostile criticism were similar to ratings of overall criticism, as indicated by a positive correlation between these two and similar correlations with related variables. In contrast, perceptions of nonhostile criticism demonstrated more complex patterns of associations, showing a positive correlation with relationship satisfaction, a negative correlation with perceptions of hostile criticism, and a positive association with general perceptions of criticism only in the context of low depressive symptoms (as depressive symptoms increased, this association became significantly weaker). These results suggest that respondents do distinguish between perceptions of hostile and nonhostile criticism, and these perceptions are not simply different points on the same continuum. Moreover, they suggest that individuals with higher levels of depression may be less likely to incorporate nonhostile criticism into their overall perceptions of criticism from others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-374
Number of pages11
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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