Critically consider 2 or more psychological explanations of depression

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Assignment title: Critically consider two or more psychological explanations of depression.

The first psychological approach is the psychodynamic theory introduced by Sigmund Freud. This model suggests that major losses such as the loss of a job or rejection tend to increase the chance of developing depression in an individual. According to Freud, if an individuals fail to establish effective ways of dealing with such loss early on, they are likely to be depressed when confronted with another major loss. In this model, Freud also emphasised the significance of low self esteem in depression as a consequence of anger inward when encountering loss. For example the individual may believe that it is inappropriate to express their anger and therefore internalise it which leads to depression.

One strength of the psychodynamic model of depression is that it has been supported by research in this area. For example Shah and Waller (2000) reported that many depression sufferers admitted to having affectionless parents. Given this, it could be argued that early loss is active in triggering later depression.

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In support of this Bifulco (1992) discovered that children were more likely to suffer depression later in life if their mothers had died during their childhood. However although this appears to be the case, we could argue that since their mothers had died, lack of necessary care from parent substitute may have led to depression rather than the actual loss itself. If this is the case, then the emphasis that Freud places on loss is fairly limited.

Contrary to Freud, Paykel and Cooper (1992) found out that only 10% of individuals who encountered a major loss during their childhood experienced ...

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The Quality of Written Communication is good from an English perspective and a Psychology one. From an English perspective, the candidate utilises grammar, spelling and punctuation well and also demonstrates an ability to critically evaluate whilst using the language of the experts as they frequently apply psychology-specific terminology with ease and accuracy.

The Level of Analysis, as always, is very prescriptive, with the candidate offering a balanced evaluation of the first two theories but, as stated earlier, not of the third. Where the answer is good is there is a strong understanding of how to critically evaluate psychological theories and cite empirical evidence in order to solidify essay answers. This shows a good knowledge of a wide range of psychological approaches and indicates to the examiner that the candidate is confident to make evaluative comments about studies.

This candidate writes everything that is required of a 5-star essay and structures it fairly well, concerning three theories and critical evaluations of the affective disorder depression, before going on to provide evidence and theorist explanations for the ideas they propose. They first consider the psychodynamic perspective; then the social explanation (social learning theory; that behaviour is learned from others); and then the cognitive approach's explanation of depression. As the question explicitly states that a minimum of two explanations and critical evaluations are required, it is good to see the candidate has done more than the bare minimum accepted, but as a result the evaluation of the cognitive explanation is not balanced (possibly due to time constraints) and this prevents the essay from reaching 5 stars. If the candidate had left the essay with only two explanations and evaluations, the mark scheme would allow this to score higher, but since the candidate attempted a third, the approach must be completed as per the other two in order to consistently achieve excellence.