PSYA4 Depression Essay 4 - Psychological Explanations


Here is the fourth essay that could come up for depression. 


Describe and evaluate psychological explanations of ONE mental disorder (Depression) (8+16)

  • Psychoanalytic theory is based on the notion that early chilhood conflicts create unconscious forces in the adult and contribute to the development of depression. Individuals whose needs are not met by parents during the oral stage of development become fixated and inclined to be dependant on others, making them vulnerable to depression. 
  • They also become angry when their needs are not met and they turn their anger inwards, which is done unconsciously. When an actual loss occurs in later life, the individual may regress to the oral stage. Anger is not expressed outwardly as it is unacceptable to the superego
  • Bibring claimed that depression is a result of low self-esteem caused by harsh, critical perfectionist parenting. Wide discrepancy between child's sense of self and child's ego-ideal causes them to be unable to live up to unrealistic ideal self. This supports the idea that low self-esteem precedes depression, and that it is sometimes associated with critical parenting. 

+ Bifulco suggests that loss of a parent (death or divorce) early on links to depression in adulthood. This supports the theory.

- Certian personality traits are associated with depression as in the oral stage. But these may be an effect of the depression rather than the cause. 

- It doesn't take biological factors in to account. 

  • Behavioural Theory (Learning theory) suggests that depression arises from a lack of positive reinforcement. Lewinsohn agreed with this but suggested that it may also be due to a lack of social skills. 
  • Coyne - 1985 - claimed that people mak their problem worse by alienating themselves from others. This may be because people react with annoyance towards depressed people as it can be very frustrating for them too.
  • Learned helplessness (LH) was the term used when animals' response to inescapable pain was observed. 
  • Maier et al. placed dogs in two consecutive situations. One where the electric shock was inescapable and one where the shock was avoidable. He found…


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