PY4 - Abnormal Psychology WJEC

Explanations of the aetologies of Depression according to the WJEC board

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  • Created on: 18-06-11 17:25
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Emily Hunt
PY4 Abnormal
Aetiologies of Depression
WJEC POTENITAL question: Discuss aetiologies of Unipolar Depression including either physiological
or psychological explanations (They can also ask for both)
Physiological Explanations
Family Studies
Those of closer degree we more likely to experience depression at some point.
Twin Studies
There are higher concordance rates in MZ twins than in DZ twins suggesting that unipolar
depression is down to genetics rather than environment.
Adoption Studies
Adoptee's that had depression; biological parents also were more likely to have depression.
Providing evidence that depression is due to genetics
Empirical data
Reductionist, ignores any other explanations other than biological factors
Abnormal Neurotransmitter Levels
Low levels or noradrenaline causes depression. BENNEY ET AL (1965) using post-mortem studies
he found that noradrenaline receptors increased in those that committed suicide. When there are
low levels of noradrenaline there is an increase in receptors.
Prozac is an antidepressant drug that blocks the reuptake of Serotonin.
Post-mortem studies, unethical
Difficulty in testing
Deterministic and reductionist
Clear cause an effect
Scientific Excess Cortisol
As Selye's discussed in his GAS theory cortisol is released over long stressful periods. This level of
cortisol has effects like triggering depression as it lowers serotonin

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Emily Hunt
PY4 Abnormal
Gender Bias research based on women and hormone levels of stress is different to that of
There is a lot of evidence to suggest support like Selye's GAS theory
Believes a combination of genetics and environment. That we have the gene to be depressed
however the symptoms never occur unless there is an event to trigger the gene.…read more

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Emily Hunt
PY4 Abnormal
Becks theory of depression
Negative thinking is due to triad involving, the set world and future.
Learned helplessness
Lack of positive reinforcement losing time for pleasure. SELIGMAN using dogs found that when you
fail every time you try you learn to give up trying thinking you will just fail again.
They look for the cause and usually come to the thought that they are the cause a dispositional
attribution.…read more


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