Article

Learned Helplessness

J. Bruce Overmier

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online March 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0112
Learned Helplessness

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The term “learned helplessness” appears in about three thousand articles in the PsycINFO database, applying it in a wide variety of contexts, from animal laboratory to mental health clinics, to classrooms, to management offices, to unemployment, and even to voting habits in different countries. Learned helplessness has been used as a label for empirical phenomena and for a theoretical account of behaviors, and these two are often confused. Learned helplessness arises from experiencing unpredictable and uncontrollable events—usually traumatic ones—and is reflected in reduced ability to cope with future life challenges; these challenges could be behavioral, psychological/cognitive, or health related. The demonstrations that experiencing uncontrollable, unpredictable traumatic events leads to future failures to cope with environmental challenges are of considerable importance empirically and theoretically, and they inform psychological treatment of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder and psychological science.

Article.  10157 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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