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Various aspects of personality and its development are integral in the occurrence and persistence of depression. Although episodes are strongly correlated with adverse events, how a person copes with stress also plays a role. Low self-esteem, learned helplessness, and self-defeating or distorted thinking are related to depression. Depression may also be connected to feelings of religious alienation; conversely, depression is less likely to occur among those with high levels of religious involvement. It is not always clear which factors are causes or effects of depression, but in any case depressed persons who are able to make corrections in their thinking patterns often show improved mood and self-esteem.
Cognitive psychologists and cognitive behavioral therapists have theorized that depression arises from cognitive biases and distortions stemming from deficits in memory and information processing. According to American psychologist Martin Seligman, depression in humans is similar to learned helplessness in laboratory animals, who remain in unpleasant situations when they are able to escape, but do not because they initially learned they had no control. Learned helplessness and depression may be related to what American psychologist Julian Rotter, a social learning theorist, called an external locus of control, a tendency to attribute outcomes to events outside of personal control. American psychiatrist, Aaron T. Beck, proposed that a triad of negative thoughts, Beck's cognitive triad, are present in depression entailing cognitive errors about oneself, one's world, and one's future.
On the other hand, depressed individuals often blame themselves for negative events. According to one study, depressed adolescents, while feeling responsible for negative events, do not take credit for positive outcomes. This tendency is characteristic of a depressive attributional, or pessimistic explanatory style. According to Canadian social psychologist, Albert Bandura, who is associated with Social cognitive theory, depressed individuals have negative perceptions of themselves, including a negative self-concept and perceived lack a sense of self-efficacy; in other words they do not believe they can influence events or achieve personal goals. Milder depression has been associated with what has been called depressive realism, or the "sadder-but-wiser" effect, a view of the world that is relatively undistorted by positive biases.
A large body of research has documented the importance of interpersonal factors, including strained or critical personal relationships, in the onset of depressive symptoms and depression in young and middle-aged adults. Vulnerability factors—such as early maternal loss, lack of a confiding relationship, responsibility for the care of several young children at home, and unemployment—can interact with life stressors to increase the risk of depression in women. However, the validity of risk factors has been widely debated. For older adults, the factors are often health problems, changes in relationships with a spouse or adult children due to the transition to a care-giving or care-needing role, the death of a significant other, or a change in the availability or quality of social relationships with older friends because of their own health-related life changes.
Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, likened the state of melancholia to mourning in his 1917 paper Mourning and Melancholia. He theorized that objective loss, such as the loss of a valued relationship through death or a romantic break-up, results in subjective loss as well; the depressed individual has identified with the object of affection through an unconscious, narcissistic process called the libidinal cathexis of the ego. Such loss results in severe melancholic symptoms more profound than mourning; not only is the outside world viewed negatively, but the ego itself is compromised. The patient's decline of self-regard is revealed in his belief of his own blame, inferiority, and unworthiness.
Generally grouped together, existential and humanistic approaches represent a forceful affirmation of individualism. Austrian existential psychiatrist Viktor Frankl connected depression to feelings of futility and meaninglessness. American existential psychologist Rollo May stated that "depression is the inability to construct a future". In general, May wrote, "depression...occur[s] more in the dimension of time than in space," and the depressed individual fails to look ahead in time properly. Thus the "focusing upon some point in time outside the depression...gives the patient a perspective, a view on high so to speak; and this may well break the chains of the...depression." Humanistic psychologists argue that depression can result from an incongruity between society and the individual's innate drive to self-actualize, or to realize one's full potential. American humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized that depression is especially likely to arise when the world precludes a sense of "richness" or "totality" for the self-actualizer.
References & Bibliography
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- ↑ Exline JJ, Yali AM, Sanderson WC (December 2000). Guilt, discord, and alienation: The role of religious strain in depression and suicidality. Journal of clinical psychology 56 (12): 1481–96.
- ↑ Moreira-Almeida A, Neto FL, Koenig HG (September 2006). Religiousness and mental health: A review. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry) 3: 242–250.
- ↑ Warman DM, Beck AT (2003). About treatment and supports: Cognitive behavioral therapy. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website. URL accessed on 2008-10-17.
- ↑ Seligman, M (1975). Helplessness: On depression, development and death, San Francisco, CA, USA: WH Freeman.
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- ↑ . "An Overview of Beck's Cognitive Theory of Depression in Contemporary Literature". Personality Papers. Retrieved on 2008-10-30.
- ↑ Pinto A, Francis G (1993). Cognitive correlates of depressive symptoms in hospitalized adolescents. Adolescence 28 (111): 661–72.
- ↑ Bandura A (1998). "Self-Efficacy" Friedman H Encyclopedia of mental health, San Diego: Academic Press. URL accessed 2008-08-17.
- ↑ Taylor, SE (1991). Positive Illusions: Creative Self-deception and the Healthy Mind, New York, NY, USA: Basic Books.
- ↑ Brown GW, Harris TO  (2001). Social Origins of Depression: A Study of Psychiatric Disorder in Women, Routledge.
- ↑ Patten, SB (December 1991). Are the Brown and Harris "vulnerability factors" risk factors for depression?. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience 16 (5): 267–71.
- ↑ Hinrichsen GA, Emery EE (2006). Interpersonal factors and late-life depression. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 12 (3): 264–75.
- ↑ Carhart-Harris RL, Mayberg HS, Malizia AL, Nutt D (2008). Mourning and melancholia revisited: Correspondences between principles of Freudian metapsychology and empirical findings in neuropsychiatry. Annals of General Psychiatry 7: 9.
- ↑ Freud, S (1984). "Mourning and Melancholia" Richards A (ed.) 11.On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psycholoanalysis, pp. 245–69, Aylesbury, Bucks: Pelican.
- ↑ Freeman, Epstein & Simon 1987, pp. 64,66
- ↑ Frankl VE (2000). Man's search for ultimate meaning, 139-40, New York, NY, USA: Basic Books.
- ↑ Geppert CMA (2006). Damage control. Psychiatric Times. URL accessed on 2008-11-08.
- ↑ May 1994, p. 133
- ↑ May 1994, p. 135
- ↑ Boeree, CG (1998). Abraham Maslow: Personality Theories. (PDF) Psychology Department, Shippensburg University. URL accessed on 2008-10-27.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Maslow A (1971). The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, 318, New York, NY, USA: Viking Books.