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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. ...read more.


On the other hand, it is not entirely fair to say that the psychoanalytic approach of depression if wrong simply because the psychoanalytic therapy is ineffective, because its possible that depressed people may simply find it hard to cope with the requirements of the therapy. An alternative explanation of depression is the learned helplessness theory by Seligman (1974). This theory assumes that if people attempt to deal with negative experiences but fail them, then they learn to be depressed as a consequence. According to Seligman, feelings of depression will then rise as a result of the individual believing that they are unable to succeed in anything they do therefore they stop trying. One strength of this model is that it has been supported by research. Evidence indicate that individuals who had experienced challenging events were more likely to be unsuccessful at subsequent tasks (Hiroto and Seligman 1974). ...read more.


The final explanation of depression was proposed by doctor Aaron Beck. This theory suggests that the way people think about themselves, others around them as well their circumstance determines their chance of developing depression. Beck argued that, people with depression view themselves more negatively than non-depressed individuals. Beck, built on some of the psychoanalysis ideas by suggesting that individual tend to acquire a schema based on their reaction to certain events such as the loss of a parent or rejection. According to this theory, if a person develops a negative schema it will lead to cognitive biases such as overgeneralizations. For example an individual may believe that she's the ugliest person in the world. One strength of the cognitive explanation is that, successful therapies for depression have been developed. For example Butler and Beck carried out a meta analysis and found out that the therapy was more successful than the drug therapy. In conclusion, similar to all the above explanations, it is not clear to establish whether negative thoughts cause depression or depression results in negative thoughts. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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Response to the question

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 ...

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Response to the question

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.

Level of analysis

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.

Quality of writing

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.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 27/07/2012

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