Describe and evaluate two psychological explanations of depression. (25 marks)
There have been several psychoanalytical theories of depression; there is no objective view of depression. However, centre to all these different theories is the idea that unconscious forces and experiences during early childhood contribute to the development of depression in adult life. The first theory that will be looked at is, Sigmund Fraud’s theory, based on his 1917 essay ‘Mourning and Melancholia’. Here, Fraud related depression back to the Oral stage of development during childhood. The Oral stage, according to Fraud, this is the first of several psychosexual stages through which human infants develop towards maturity. It is characterised by dependency on their caregiver. It is possible to become fixated (stuck) at any one of these stages and this has consequences for later development. Fixation can occur as the result of either over-or under-gratification. This very dependant nature makes them particularly venerable to depression in their adult life. They spend energy, money and more looking for love and attention and approval of others, this could lead to anger if their needs aren’t met. However, this anger is directed inwardly, at themselves instead of at others. An example of this is with the loss of a loved one, their anger is directed inwardly at the loss of their loved one, regressing back to the Oral stage. Fraud also distinguished between actual loss, in the case of the loss of a loved one and symbolic loss, loss of a job. However, both do lead to depression, as the individual re-experiences a childhood episode when they experienced loss of affection from a caregiver. There has also been a link between Low self-esteem and depression. Bibring’s psychodynamic theory (1965) stated that low self-esteem brought about by a harsh and critical upbringing could result in depression. This perfectionist parenting style can produce a wide inconsistency between the child’s...
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