Cognitive Explanation for Depression
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What is a schema?
A cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information
How may a schema cause illness?
If it is irrational or negative
Give one example of an activating event
Failing an exam
Give an example of one belief and one consequence of failing an exam if the person has a positive cognitive schema
- Belief: I didn't work hard enough. I can do better
- Consequence: Try harder next time
Give an example of one belief and one consequence of failing an exam if the person has a negative cognitive schema
- Belief: I'm useless, there's no point in trying
- Consequence: Give up and fail again
Why did Beck believe depressed individuals feel as they do?
Their thinking is biased towards negative interpretations of the world
What did beck argue depressed people have acquired and when did this occur?
A negative schema acquired during childhood
Give 3 examples of factors that could result in the formation of a negative schema
- Parental rejection
- Teachers' criticism
When are these schemas activated?
When a new situation is encountered that is similar to the conditions in which the schemas were learned
What are the three components to depression according to Beck? (1991)
- Negative views of the self
- Negative views of one's ongoing experience of the world
- Negative views about the future
What is the name given to the three components of depression?
The cognitive triad
What 3 things would a person believe if they had a negative cognitive triad?
- I am worthless
- The world is against me and full of obstacles
- Nothing will change
Give three examples of cognitive errors?
What is absolutist thinking
Believing everything must be perfect or else it must be a disaster
What is selective abstraction?
Drawing conclusions on the basis of irrelevant evidence
What is overgeneralisation?
Making a sweeping conclusion based on a single event
What is minimisation?
Playing down or ignoring positive events
What is internal-external attribution?
Belief that you are responsible for failures
What is stable-unstable attribution?
Belief that failures occur because, 'that's just the way it is/ always will be'
What is global-specific attribution?
Mentality such as, 'That's how I am with everybody and all events in my life'
What is a maladaptive style according to attribution theory?
The attribution of all negative events to global, stable and internal causes leaden to negative expectations and depression
State, using examples, the 4 stages of attributional judgements leading to depression
- Bad event: Failing a Psychology A level
- Causal explanations: Internal, global + stable
- Attributions and expectations: I'm stupid (internal), I will never (stable) succeed at anything (global)
- Symptoms: Hopelessness leading to depression
Give one piece of support for the cognitive explanation for depression
Studies testing whether depressed people think more negatively than non depressed people have found that, in most cases, depressed people think more negatively
What did Haaga find in 1991?
Depressed people think more negatively than non depressed people in relation to the self, the world and the future
How is the cognitive theory supported by face validity?
There is evidence that depressives have the negative cognitions so the explanation makes common sense and on the face of it seems supported
State one positive aspect regarding the cognitive theory in relation to treatment
Cognitive behaviour theory, based on the cognitive explanation is as effective (sometimes more effective) than drug treatment for depression
What did Butler and Beck find regarding CBT?
Found, after reviewing 14 investigations, 80% of the adults benefited from the therapy which was more effective than drug therapy with a lower relapse rate
How is treatment fallacy a drawback of the cognitive explanation?
Cognitive therapy works as a treatment but this does not prove that cognitions are the root cause
Suggest one ethical issue with the cognitive explanation
The theory puts the blame on patients because their own thoughts cause depression. This could be damaging to seriously depressed people, further developing their negative schemas
Why is causation an issue for the cognitive explanation?
- Most evidence is correlational between depression and negative cognitions.
- Negative thinking may be an effect or symptom of depression rather than the other way round
Why is data collected regarding the cognitive explanation unreliable?
- We cannot accurately measure cognitions
- Most research relies on self report by a patient that may be exaggerated or understated
What major aspect does the cognitive explanation lack?
Explanation. Negative thoughts are described but not explained, the theory suggests schemas are developed during childhood yet no full explanation is given
What criticism did Damasio raise in 2000?
- Neuro imaging techniques have shown that emotional processing occurs before cognitive processing
- Emotions must be accommodated into Beck's theory as without them it is incomplete
What factors are ignored by the cognitive theory ?
- Social factors such as the environmental and social contexts in which people live
- Many researchers look towards a more interactionist model that takes these other factors into account
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