Diathesis-stress model

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  • Created on: 24-10-13 12:48
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What is the diathesis-stress model?
The diathesis-stress model is a way of explaining
how people end up suffering from mental
disorders by assuming that mental disorders
come from the interaction of two things, genetic
and life experience (nature and nurture) such as
culture, gender, work environment and
relationships. One area that has attracted
considerable research interest is the role of
stressful life events such as by Brown and Harris.
Gender differences
Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with
depression as men however the reasons for this
aren't clear. Some of the reasons for this
Biological factors ­ Depression is often
associated with hormonal changes in
women such as depression around the
time of menstruation, after the birth of a
baby or during the menopause. This
suggests a biological reason but important
social, emotional, financial factors that
operate during these times could be the
cause of depression.
Poorer quality of life & cultural pressures
­ It's been suggested that women have a
porrer quaility of life than men. They tend
to have lower-paid and lower-status jobs.
Once they have finished their paid job, tey
have to come home to do domestic work
(Bird and Reiker). Women might also be
more of a subject to cultural pressure than
men such as to be slim, attractive etc. This
could add to their feelings of inadequancy
if they don't meet expectations.
Rumination ­ Women over-think more
than men when they feel down. They
think about what makes them feel sad and
turn these thoughts over and over in their
heads.Rumination is a predictor of
depression (Nolen-Hoeksema & Corte).

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Stressful life events, personality &
depression ­ Mazure et al (2000)
Looked at stressful life events and personality
style as factors in predicting depression (MDD).
Trained interviewers used standard scales to
assess the number, severity & type of stressful
events that had occurred in the previous 6
months in both 43 patients & 43 matched
controls. Cognitive-personality characteristics
were assessed by using Beck's measures of
sociotropy. Found that adverse life events are a
potent factor in predicting depression, certain
cognitive-personality characteristics (e.g.…read more



An insightful piece of reading about the diathesis-stress model.  This would be useful for adding further depth to your answers!

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