Clinical Evaluation of a Claim
"It is proposed that a large proportion of episodes of depression
result, at least in part, from the interaction between individuals
cognitive vulnerability and the social context in which he or she
lives" (Champion & Power, 1995, p.485).
Depression is defined as a 'wide spectrum of changes in mood and
affective state, ranging from severity from the normal mood
fluctuations of everyday life, sometimes called sadness or
despondency, to severe psychotic episodes.' (Nicholi, 1998, p.309).
Depression results in the inability to take interest in anything as
well as being able to perform even the most ordinary tasks. Depressed
individuals often feel guilty as well as no self-worth and often think
of committing suicide. Clear thinking is diminished and anxiety, lack
of energy and enthusiasm is taken over. It is to be believed that one
in five become clinically depressed at some stage in their lives
(Kessler et al. 1994). Depression has long been an area of key
interest for scientific analysis, due to its costs to society.
Furthermore, it is a well known epidemiological observation that
approximately twice as many women than men become depressed.
(Bebbington, 1990; Wiessman & Kierman, 1977). Factors such as
menstruation, pregnancy, miscarriage and menopause could be
responsible for depression in women, as well as additional
responsibilities such as juggling the care of children and employment.
It is surprising to know that 330 million people worldwide suffer from
depression but only a few will receive treatment. It has been
estimated that by the year 2020 major depression will be the world's
second most debilitating disease, surpassed only by cardiovascular
disease. People who become depressed tend to think about themselves
and the world around them differently from people who are not
vulnerable to depression (Beck, Rush, Shaw & Emery, 1976).
Beck (1967) discusses what he calls the vulnerability of the
depression-prone person as:
‘Attributable to the constellation of enduring negative attitudes
about himself, about the world, and about his future.’ He goes onto
suggest that the depressive-prone person has become sensitised in
childhood and adolescence to certain types of life-situation. These
are responsible for establishing the original negative attitudes and
are the prototypes of specific stresses, which may later activate
these constellations and lead to depression. He indicated that the
incidents that set off the feelings and in turn depression are usually
quite minor. Beliefs, attitudes and thought processes make them
vulnerable to depression.
Since the cognitive revolution of the 1960’s cognitive theories of
depression has been dominant, theorists such as Beck (1976), Abramson
(1978) and Teasedale (1988) have devised cognitive...