Psychological Explanations of Depression

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  • Psychodyna-mic
    • Psychological Explanations of Depression
      • Cognitive
        • Beck believed that depressed individuals feel the way they do because their thinking is biased towards negative interpretations of the world. Depressed people have developed a negative schema. These negative schema are activated whenever the individuals encounters a new situation that resembles the original conditions in which the schema was learned. These negative schema are subject to cognitive biases in thinking. Negative schema and cognitive biases maintains the negative triad.
        • Evaluation
          • Butler and Beck reviewed 14 meta-analyses and concluded that 80% of adults benefited from Beck's therapy. There was also a lower relapse rate.
          • Hammen and Krantz found that depressed women made more errors in logic.
          • Bates et al found that depressed participants who were given negative automatic thought statements became more and more depressed.
      • Behavioural
        • Lewinsohn (1974) proposed that depression arises form a lack of positive reinforcement. This can be because the individual does not behave in social situations in such ways that elicit a reward. It has also been suggested that depressed people make their problem worse by alienating themselves.
        • Depression may be learned when a person tries but fails to control unpleasant events. As a result they acquire a sense of being unable  to exercise control over the events in their life. and so become depressed. This learned helplessness then impairs their performance in situations that can be controlled.
        • Evaluation
          • Hiroto and Seligman showed that college students who were exposed to uncontrollable aversive events were more likely to fail on cognitive tasks.
          • Having some degree of control and not feeling completely helpless greatly improves performance, especially for those who are depressed.
    • Mourning and melancholia
      • Freud explained how when a loved one is lost, there is first a mourning period and then after a while, life returns to normal. However for some people the mourning period never seems to come to an end. They continue to exist in a state of permanent melancholia. Freud stated that mourning was normal, but melancholia is a pathological illness.
    • The pathology of depression
      • Freud believed that we unconsciously harbour some negative feelings towards those we love. When we lose a loved one these feelings are turned upon ourselves and in addition we may resent being deserted by them. This is followed by a period of mourning where we recall memories and gradually separate ourselves from them. In some cases this process can go wrong and the anger towards the lost individual is turned upon the self.
    • Evaluation
      • Many people who suffer from depression have also described their parents as affectionless supported the concept of loss through withdrawal.
      • Barnes and Prosen found that men who lost their fathers in childhood scored higher on a depression scale than those whose fathers have not died.
      • Bifulco et al found evidence that children whose mothers died in childhood were more likely to experience depression later in life. However, they found that the association could be explained by the lack of care from parents and parent substitutes following the loss.
      • Only 10% of those who experience depression have also experienced early loss
      • Psychoanaly-sis is not very effective to treat depression
  • Mourning and melancholia
    • Freud explained how when a loved one is lost, there is first a mourning period and then after a while, life returns to normal. However for some people the mourning period never seems to come to an end. They continue to exist in a state of permanent melancholia. Freud stated that mourning was normal, but melancholia is a pathological illness.

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