Essay, Research Paper: Depression And Relationships


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A primary concern for Psychology research is depression. Depression affects a
great deal of our population and many aspects of an individual's mental health
and well-being. In my research of books, articles, and Internet pages on
depression, I chose to base my paper mainly on a 1994 article of a study of
depression, entitled Depression, Working Models of Others, and Relationship
Functioning, by Katherine B. Carnelley, Paula R. Pietromonaco, and Kenneth
Jaffe. This study focuses on the idea that the type of care received in
childhood, positive or negative, has a great effect on relationship functioning
later in adulthood. But there are two links between child-rearing and
relationship functioning: attachment style and depression. Both derive from the
type of care received in childhood and affect relationship functioning, and both
exert a reciprocal influence on each other in adulthood. The researchers of this
study wanted to examine all the correlation's between type of care, attachment
style, depression, and relationship functioning. They proposed a three part
hypothesis: 1. A less positive childhood would result in an insecure attachment
style and depression, 2. Depressives would exhibit a preoccupied or fearful
style of attachment, and 3. attachment style would affect relationship
functioning more than depression. The research was conducted in two independent
studies. The first study sampled 204 college women. Women were studied based on
the very plausible assumptions that women are more susceptible to depression
than men and relationships carry more significance with women than men. The
women were screened using the Beck Depression Inventory, a popular method of
testing consisting of 21 multiple choice questions to be administered by a
clinician. The questions range in scope from feelings of sadness to loss of
libido. From these results, a sample of 163 was taken: 73 whose scores indicated
mild depression. From this point the researchers administered various
inventories to assess the type of childhood care given, romantic attachment
styles, and relationship functioning. Depression appears to be the independent
variable, because the sample was selected based on desired levels of depression.
Once the distinction in levels of depression had been made, childhood care,
attachment style, and relationship functioning were assessed in relation to
depression. The actual distinction between independent and dependent variables
is confusing. There are almost ten variables in this experiment: mild
depression, no depression, dating or not dating (101 out of 163 were involved in
stable dating relationships that averaged 19.99 months), positive or negative
child-rearing, attachment style (fearful, preoccupied, or secure), and
relationship functioning (overall satisfaction, quality of interactions with
partner, and conflict resolution style). The confusion arises in that the study
is assessing the relationships of so many variables. The second study repeated
the first except the sample consisted of recovering clinically depressed married
women and non depressed married women. The first hypothesis 1a was confirmed as
having a strong correlation between women with negative childhood experiences
with their mother and a preoccupied and avoidant attachment style. Hypothesis 1b
was confirmed by a strong correlation between childhood experiences and
depression. A very strong correlation existed between depression and fearful and
preoccupied attachment styles, consistent with the second hypothesis. The
researchers found that attachment style had more of an impact than depression,
"attachment style was the most consistent predictor of relationship
functioning and generally predicted functioning better than depression,"
consistent with the third hypothesis. The second study consisting of clinically
depressed married women, and non depressed women found a correlation between
greater fearful avoidance and preoccupation in recovering clinically depressed
married women. This study raised several interesting questions: To what can the
various types of relationship functioning and the multifarious correlation's
between the variables involved be ascribed? Are the factors controlling
depression external or internal? How do people develop their "working
models" of relationships? Do these models derive from childhood, or are
they slowly assimilated over the course of one's life? I would now like to go on
to the treatment and results of depression and the affects on the ones they
love. When one is depressive, some studies show that one may become more
productive at work, they need less, sleep, and also concentrate harder on their
work according to Syndrome of The Elite: Bipolar Disorder II, by Carl Sherman.
People affected sometimes can have quick, innovative intelligence. They can be
charismatic, have more energy, but they can also have extreme mood swings to
upset a relationship. When one is treated with a medication such as lithium to
stabilize their moods, one may actually benefit from having such a disease.
These people will be hard working, need less sleep, and can get ahead in their
jobs. Some of the top executives, creative people, and entrepreneurs benefit
from these conditions. However, in the home these mood swings may lead to
unresolved fights, and anger within one's family. Depression can lead to
excessive behavior, such as gambling, and exorbitant lifestyles. This is
compounded by the problem that one suffering also likes to be isolated, and
prefers not to talk about compounding problems they may be facing. This can
build up a fire inside one's self. We can only say for sure that with the
bi-polar stages of manic depression, that many relationships can only follow the
highs and lows of the depressive's states. To fight this disease, many people
turn to the many available anti-depressant drugs on the market now. These drugs
alter the bio-chemicals in the brain itself. It works wonders for most people.
In fact, 85% of all manic depressives have great results right away when treated
according to an the article entitled, 1 in 5 adults suffer mental illness
Experts say great strides made in treating Depression, by Natalie Neiman. Also
according to this study, almost 15 to 20 percent of manic depressives commit
suicide, which makes treating this disease a must. One way of tracing this is
through hereditary. Almost 40-50 percent of the siblings of manic depressive's
children also have a depression disorder. It is sometimes however hard to
decipher between a normal teenager's mood swings, or a depression. People need
to realize not to discriminate, and know that it is a treatable chemistry
imbalance. If one's teenager is acting in a depressive state have them talk to a
psychologist, and assure them nothing is wrong with them, and that it can only
help. I chose to do my research on this given that I am manic depressive. I had
recently broken up in a relationship, and this research helped to satisfy some
curiosities. With this research I realize how much I have been helped, and it
helped to explain some of my personality traits. Someone who has manic
depression should definitely go in for help, and should realize the risk of not.
The research shows that the interaction between relationship functioning,
depression, and attachment style are attributable to early childhood. In other
words, an individual's experiences in his or her formative years can have
lasting psychological effects, up to the most basic social functions in
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