The Cognitive Explanation of Depression

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By benjif
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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 Maximisation, the tendency to exaggerate the significance of an event. There is also Minimisation, the tendency to underplay a positive event. Beck also does not rule out a genetic component as he also suggests that negative cognitions may be as a result of inheriting different characteristics and that traumatic events and negative treatment in childhood can create negative schemas.
A strength of the cognitive explanation of depression is that it has practical applications for the treatment of depression. 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. This is a strength as it suggests that these negative cognitions underpin depression and this is what the theory predicts.
However a criticism of this study would be that of cause and effect. This study cannot establish if the cognitions actually caused the depression.…...

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