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Psychological, Biological, Social and Cultural Theories on Depression
A review of psychological, biological, social, and cultural theories on depression and its treatment.
# 153399 | 1,422 words | 8 sources | APA | 2013 | US
Published on May 29, 2013 in Psychology (Disorders)

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The paper explores the theories on why women seem to be more prone to unipolar depression than men, reviews three models on how gender differences in depression might develop and looks at the genetic basis for the susceptibility towards depression. Next, the paper reviews studies on how systems of social support could reduce levels of depression in children and women, and then examines the impact of culture on expressions of depression. The paper finds that the Chinese either deny their depression or express it somatically, but also looks at a study that argues that alleged culture-specific symptoms may lead to underrecognition or misidentification of psychological distress. The paper explains how this study asserts that somatic symptoms serve as idioms of distress in cultures across the world regardless of ethnic background.


From the Paper:

"There are definite sex differences in unipolar depression. Women seem to be more prone to unipolar depression than men. The following seven traditional causes were expressed by the authors: that depression initiates as an income problem with men happening to earn more than women; men's unwillingness to seek help hence depression is over-reported on the female part; men and women are equally susceptible to depression but women 'act out'; their condition; biological explanations; and psychoanalytic explanations; sex role explanations (that women are programmed to express their sorrows); and learned helpless explanation. Nolen-Hocksema (1987) disputed these arguments. . They, finally, observed that whereas males just 'got on with things' and distracted themselves, women are more likely to ruminate about their depressed situation. The author advocates that the male approach to depression is more effective than that of the female approach for three reasons (a) the ruminative response exacerbates the situation only amplifying the depressive episode; b. rumination increases the accessibility of negative memories, and c. individuals will more likely consider depressing explanation for his/ her depression (Nolen-Hocksema, S, 1987).
"Similarly, Abramson et al. (1989) postulate that depression is manufactured by and based on hopelessness. Calling this their 'hopelessness theory of depression', Abramson et al. (1989) show how hopelessness engenders the physical symptoms of depression, and de-emphasizes causal attributes of depression showing that inferred negative characteristics of the self and of the situation can just as easily invoke this feeling of hopelessness that results in depression."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Abramson, L., Metolsky, G., & Alloy,L. (1989). Hopelessness depression: A theory based subtype of depression. Psyc. Review, 96, 358-378
  • Brown., Andrews, B., Harris, T., Adler, Z., & Bridge, L. (1986) Social support, self-esteem and depression Psychological Medicine, 16, 813-831
  • Kaufman, J. et al. (2004). Social supports and serotonin transporter gene moderate depression in maltreated children, PNAS, 10, 17316-17321
  • Nolen-Hocksema. S. (1987). Sex differences in unipolar depression": Evidence and theory. Psyc. Scicne, 101, 259-282.
  • Nolen-Hocksema-S., & Girgus, J.C. (1994). The emergence of gender differences in depression during adolescence, Psychological Bulletin, 115, 424-443.

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APA Format

Psychological, Biological, Social and Cultural Theories on Depression (2013, May 29) Retrieved August 02, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Psychological, Biological, Social and Cultural Theories on Depression" 29 May 2013. Web. 02 August. 2021. <>