The prospective role of defeat and entrapment in depression and anxiety: a 12-month longitudinal study

Alys Wyn Griffiths, Alex M. Wood, John Maltby, Peter J. Taylor, Sara Tai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


The concepts of "defeat" (representing failed social struggle) and "entrapment" (representing an inability to escape from a situation) have emerged from the animal literature, providing insight into the health consequences of low social rank. Evolutionary models suggest that these constructs co-occur and can lead to the development of mental disorders, although there is limited empirical evidence supporting these predictions. Participants (N=172) were recruited from economically deprived areas in North England. Over half of participants (58%) met clinical cut-offs for depression and anxiety, therefore we conducted analyses to establish whether participant outcomes were dependent on baseline defeat and entrapment levels. Participants completed measures of defeat, entrapment, depression and anxiety at two time-points twelve months apart. Factor analysis demonstrated that defeat and entrapment were best defined as one factor, suggesting that the experiences co-occurred. Regression analyses demonstrated that changes in depression and anxiety between T1 and T2 were predicted from baseline levels of defeat and entrapment; however, changes in defeat and entrapment were also predicted from baseline depression and anxiety. There are implications for targeting perceptions of defeat and entrapment within psychological interventions for people experiencing anxiety and depression and screening individuals to identify those at risk of developing psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
Early online date1 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Defeat
  • Depression
  • Entrapment


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