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Outline the cognitive explanation of depression

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´╗┐Cognitive explanation (12 marks ? 4+8) The cognitive explanation of depression is a psychological explanation proposed by Beck. He believed that people who are depressed make fundamental errors in logic. Beck (1991) proposed that depression is rooted in three maladaptive assumptions: negative thoughts of self; of circumstances; and of the future which is known as the cognitive triad. He suggested that depressive people draw illogical conclusions which lead to a distorted reality. An example of these cognitive distortions is Magnification; the tendency to exaggerate the significance of an event and Minimisation; the tendency to underplay a positive event. ...read more.


They have stimulated huge amounts of research that has contributed to our understanding of the disorder and how to treat it. They have given rise to one of the most effective treatment for depression ? CBT. This theory therefore contributes to our understanding and treatment of depression. A further strength comes from the study conducted by Lewinsohn (1981). He measured self-esteem and depression related cognitions in adults for a year. He found that depression related cognitions arose alongside depression. He also found that those with the most negative cognitions were less likely to improve after a follow up. ...read more.


The study therefore cannot strongly support the theory on its own. This is a psychological explanation and so is a nurture explanation. It over looks nature and is oversimplified and not holistic. However, Beck did acknowledge the possibility of a genetic component. Depression is complex and so it is possible that all the explanations have some substance. Depression is an individual condition and people are exposed to lots of variables in a unique way and so any individual?s depression may be multi-causal. It is likely that a number of different factors are involved in the development of depression and so the diathesis-stress model is more likely to provide a stronger explanation as it explains depression as a result of both psychological and biological factors. ...read more.

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