Essay, 3 pages (700 words)

Psychology and the diathesis-stress model

Psychology and the Diathesis-stress model – Mary’s Case Apparently Mary did not seek out situations that triggered the onset of her depression. However the issue is debatable, may be Mary is prone to being stressed. Subconsciously she seeks out situations that make her stress and as a result she gets depressed – only because she is habitual of it. Her mind is more familiar with stress and depression than the opposite. The scenario spells out she is not stressed for some ‘ natural’ reason. It would have been natural for her to stress if she was spending time away from books. But she is with her study material most of the time. Logically she is supposed to get good grades and she should be satisfied with her performance but she is giving poor results despite putting in the hardwork. She is the classic example of the diathesis-stress model. She has the disposition of being stressed.
It is very difficult to precisely describe what is wrong with Mary because delving into this problem from every angle might drag the debate to philosophical side; maybe she has a fear of success! But considering the context and the diagnosis of the college counselling centre is fair enough that she has Major Depressive Disorder. Apparently she had been doing fine in her previous exams. She got admitted to an Ivy League school. It means that she handled stress in her previous exams just fine.
Mary might have depressive parents. It might be in her genes to be vulnerable to depressive disorder. May be during her previous exams and stressful situations she handled the pressure well enough or her biochemistry was strong enough to thwart depressive attacks but the pressure of performing at Ivy League school proved too much for her to handle. It might also be true that her hormonal changes have led to her towards this depressive state in her life.
Early-childhood experiences have almost a decisive impact on development of an individual. Mary might have had parents that took their stress out on her. It is very common that parents take out their own failures on their family. They can be very humiliating sometimes and that can leave a permanent mark on the child’s psychology. For instance, if the dad was not a very good student his frustration would shoot out on his own son or daughter, mocking them for even trying to put in effort at succeeding. May be Mary has similar issues. May be in her early childhood she was told repeatedly that she was ‘ not good enough’. She got into Ivy League school against all the odds but just one series of bad scores pushed her down the spiral where she is having doubt about her own abilities. The abuses she might have heard in her childhood could be the constant ‘ self-talk’ voice in her head, telling her that she is CAN’T be successful.
Generally, the person who has a dark perspective about life has a tendency or vulnerability towards developing chronic depression or depression disorder. A person who is usually worried about petty things also has the same tendency. Anxious worrying behaviour, thoughts and actions are the general giveaways of a person like that. People who get easily irritated, are extremely self-critical, are extremely scared of rejection or failure, too much self-cantered, perfectionists, non-social or anti-social, reserved or shy people, are the ones that have an increased levels of risk in developing depression.
Environmental effect is the second most potent factor in developing a personality (after nature/genetics). Environment includes social and cultural influences. If someone is socially or culturally fed the ideology that they are cursed, or they come from a bad family, or their race or ethnicity is not good enough, it can put a serious dent in that person’s healthy character development.
Mary’s depression disorder could be due to a mix of factors. May be she has abusive parents and as a result the voice in the back of her might have grown into an abusive and discouraging tone that hampers her every effort at improvement or success. Her mother could have been chronically depressed herself. When Mary goes home she has to spend time with a chronically depressed person day in and day out. Company can have a huge impact on moods and behaviours. The most obvious diagnosis is that Mary is a very self-critical person. She weighs her failures more than she weighs her successes.

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