PSYA4 Psychological Explanations of Depression

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  • Psychological Explanations
    • A01
      • Psycho dynamic Approach
        • It focuses on how unconscious motives drive our behaviour and experiences. Freud's explanations of depression lies in our early relationship with our parents and he described it as "excessive an irrational grief" as a reaction to a loss.
          • The greater the experience of loss, the greater the amount of regression as an adult. Unresolved feelings of hostility towards a parent can be directed inwards as guilt, guilt can lead to feelings of unworthiness or suicide.
        • When we lose a loved on, these feelings are turned upon ourselves and can be explained as "anger turned against oneself".
        • Mourning and melancholia can be used to explain the psycho dynamic approach of depression as Freud explained how, when a loved one is lost through bereavement there is a mourning period then after a while it turns to normal.
          • But, for some people, the mourning doesn't end and they continue to exist in a permanent state of melancholia.Mourning is a more natural process whereas, melancholia is a more pathological illness.
      • Cognitive Approach
        • Beck believed that people suffer from depression due to their negative views of the world (negative schema)
          • This is learned through childhood and causes may be from parents and activated whenever they encounter a new situation. The cognitive triad is a combination of negative views on the world, themselves and the future.
        • Learned helplessness by Seligman can be used to support the cognitive view of depression. It occurs when a person tries but fails to control unpleasant experiences. Thus, causes them to acquire a sense of being unable to control events in their life, even if it can be controlled, they make no attempt.
          • The depressed person sees events due to internal, global and stable attributional style causes.
    • A02
      • Barnes + Prosen found that men who lost their fathers through death in childhood scored higher on a depression scale than those whose fathers hadn't died which supports Freud's view of depression.
        • However, there may be limitations to the psycho dynamic view as a loss probably only explains a relatively small percentage of cases in depression. It is estimated that only 10% of those who experienced early loss later became depressed therefore, this challenges Freud's theory as a reaction to a loss because it only represents a small minority.
      • Scientific method is all about hypotheses that are tested in a controlled condition. So, a problem with Freud's explanations of depression is that his concepts cannot be operationalised therefore unfalsifiable.
      • The cognitive explanations are associated with successful therapies, Buttler + Beck received 14 meta-analysis that have investigated the effectiveness of Beck's cognitive therapy.
        • They concluded that 80% of adults benefited from the therapy compared to a control group who had no therapy this therefore, is a strength of the cognitive explanation.
      • Hamman + Kratz found that depressed women made errors in logic when asked to interpret written materials than non-depressed women.
        • However, as with many explanations, the fact that there is a link between negative thoughts and depression doesn't mean one causes the other.


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