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Compare and contrast two explanations of depression.

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Compare and contrast two explanations of depression. There are two types of depression, Bipolar and Unipolar both of which effect mood of the patient. Unipolar depression is where the person feels 'low' the majority of the time and have the following clinical characteristics: The emotional symptoms of unipolar depression are that the person feels intense feelings of guilt and a lack of enjoyment in activities that the individual previously enjoyed. Motivational symptoms can include difficulty in conducting actions as well as a lack of decision making. There are also cognitive and somatic symptoms which include negative thoughts and feelings of hopelessness (cognitive) as well as loss of energy, disturbance in weight and sleep (somatic). The clinical characteristics of Bipolar depression are also divided into four categories: Emotional, Cognitive. Somatic and motivational. Emotional characteristics are that if being euphorically happy then drastically changing into feeling of extreme sadness. The individual is also very irritable.Cognitive symptoms include an inflated self-esteem, racing thoughts and ideas as well as lack of attention however this may drastically change into feelings of hopelessness and dysfunctional thought. Somatic symptoms include decreased need of sleep as well as being fidgety and more talkative with rushed speech. ...read more.


that identical twins have the same genetics due to their appearance however this may not be the case and the information on twin studies from depression research maybe be invalid and may not show how genes cause depression. Also again focusing on environment being the cause rather than genes, it is common that mother and daughter share the same environment so if the daughter develops depression it may not be due to the inheritance of genes from her mother but due to the shared environment with her mother therefore again questioning whether it is genes that cause depression or the environment., Also Egeland believed there was a particular gene that causes depression however his research has being unable to be replicated and there is no proof that such a gene exists therefore criticising that genes are the cause or effect depression. Finally it may not be just genes that cause depression but a combination of stressful events and life experience. It may be that the depression gene needs to be triggered by the environment so therefore suggesting that other factors other than genes may be involved with depression. ...read more.


EVen though in contrast different methods are used to gather the research (cognitive- through therapy and genetics- science) both do give valid explanations for why people may suffer from depression. It may be however that the cognitive explanation is a better explanation as Nolen et al found that the attribution style in children usually lead to depression in later life this suggests that attribution and negative thoughts lead to depression rather than a chemical imbalance due to the production/lack of production of a protein inherited from the DNA of the parents as suggested by the biological explanation. However it can be argued that hopelessness and attribution are corellational as are chemical imbalance and the feeling of depression therefore this are similar in the sense it is hard to identify between whether the depression/hopelessness leads to the depression and the attribution or the other way round. This there may for make the research invalid as it does not necessarily give us a direct answer to the cause of depression. To conclude there are many similarities to whither it is definite to the cause of depression however there are many differences in the focal point for the cause of depression and how the information is obtained. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This response does not focus enough on the compare and contrast aspects of the question. A02 evaluative marks should be gained through saying how the two explanations are similar or different, not through saying what is good or bad about ...

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Response to the question

This response does not focus enough on the compare and contrast aspects of the question. A02 evaluative marks should be gained through saying how the two explanations are similar or different, not through saying what is good or bad about them. So, for example rather than simply giving evidence for a theory, the student could say that a comparison between the two explanations is that they both have empirical evidence to support (this really emphasizes the comparison being made to the examiner). That being said, the content is good: lots of information is given, especially in the introduction where both types of depression are explained in detail. Also, each study is explained well, as opposed to simply saying “evidence for this was found by X..” The student explains the content of the study and why this supports the idea.

Level of analysis

Lots of evidence is cited complete with names of experimenters and details of the studies. This strengthens the argument and shows it is based on studies, rather than opinions. However, as mentioned above, marks for evaluation for this particular form of question should not be gained through criticizing or praising the theory, but by comparing and contrasting. If the question had been “Describe and evaluate two explanations of depression”, this response would have been much more suitable.

Quality of writing

I like that the student included a clear introduction that summarized both types of depression (even though the question did not specifically state that unipolar and bipolar should both be examined). This shows a good depth of knowledge. However, the structure of the essay could be greatly improved by linking the descriptive and evaluative points rather than following such a strict A01 – A02 – A01 – A02 structure. For example, after describing Egeland’s work on Amish people, the evaluation that his work lacks replication could be linked in. This makes the argument easier to follow and more mature. Finally, there are a few typos which I would like to see corrected by proof-reading, but apart from that the grammar and spelling are good.

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Reviewed by danielle-dansmell 12/07/2012

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