Cognitive Explanation for Mood Disorders ESSAY PLAN

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Discuss the Cognitive Explanation for Mood Disorders
Beck's Theory: > One of the key theorists of the cognitive explanation is Seligman who
believed people with depression suffer due to their thoughts being
negative and self defeating
> Seligman put forward the theory that as a result of parents/ authority
figures having unrealistic demands and being overly critical, childhood
negative schemas develop meaning that the way we process information
becomes biased and distorted
> These schemas continue into adulthood, resulting in cognitive biases, for
the individual may over generalise (the belief that one negative event
means everything is negative) or have a selection perception (perceiving
only negative events, whist ignoring the positive)
> Beck identified that these negative schemas would lead to a cognitive
of negative thinking where depressed people consistently think
about the world, themselves and the futures, these thoughts are
autonomic and sufferers of depression report that they constantly have
these thoughts
> Study when investigating the schemas of depressed people, Seligman
found that those with depression scored higher on a Dysfunctional
Attitude Scale (DAS) compared to the control groups suggesting that
with depression think more negatively and use negative schemas,
supporting his theory
Evaluation of Beck: > An effective therapy has been developed from the theory,
that the cause of depression (negative schemas and irrational
thoughts) may have been correctly identified
> Difficult to determine whether negative schemas cause depression
vice versa meaning a cause and effect relationship cannot be
> The fact that there is support from scientific evidence, adds
to the theory due to reliable data being gathered through a strong
Seligman: > Developed the theory of learned helplessness, which is the idea that frequent,
negative experiences where the individual believes they can't control the
events in their life, results in feelings of helplessness which leads to
> Study found that when dogs received inescapable electric shocks followed by
an escape route from the continued shocks, they did not take it, whereas the
control group who did not participate in the first condition quickly worked

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Seligman believed
this would be true to humans also.…read more

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Rose et al found the style was
related to sexual abuse in childhood but further research has
also found associations with parental over protectiveness,
discipline and perfectionist standards> this therefore makes
hard to put preventative measures in place or identify at risk
individuals…read more


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