A Learned Helplessness Model of Depression

Jennifer Radden

in The Nature of Melancholy

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195151657
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849253 | DOI:
A Learned Helplessness Model of Depression

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This chapter presents Martin Seligman's discussion of the learned helplessness model of depression. Seligman has published widely in experimental psychology, learning psychology, and clinical psychology. His analysis of depression as learned helplessness grew out of his work on the effects of experimentally contrived helplessness in laboratory animals. Such induced helplessness, he discovered, shared several important traits with naturally occurring states of clinical depression. This enabled him to postulate a learned helplessness model of depression, out of which can be derived an etiological account of depression. Clinical depression results from a belief in one's own powerlessness, a belief, in its turn, engendered by life experiences.

Keywords: Martin Seligman; depression; learned helplessness

Chapter.  2431 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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