Causes Of Depression

As referenced in last week’s discussion on emotional hijacking, a somewhat relieving freedom from responsibility comes with blaming biology for all of one’s emotional experiences. But it’s just not true. Some emotions—the basic emotions—are in fact rooted in biology (though society does indeed shape how they are interpreted, performed, and responded to), but others—the culturally specific emotions—are entirely social in origin. And while there are both biological causes and effects of depression, it also has proven social causes, including gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and poverty (as well as elements specific to particular cultures, such as the isolating Inuit custom of not speaking of one’s most painful emotional experiences). So now that you know about these social causes, how would you respond to someone who told you depression was rooted entirely in biology?_____________________________________________________________________________This 1. Imagine that someone has told you that they believe that biochemical factors are the (only) cause of depression. Use what you know about the social causes of depression, including gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and poverty, to explain to that person that while there are indeed biological causes (and effects) of depression, there are also several social causes which lead to higher rates of depression for certain demographic groups. 2. Use this week’s reading by Solomon to support your argument. Using lecture is not the same thing as using the reading. The lecture is there to help you understand the reading, but not to replace the reading. Working through the reading yourself will help you develop a much deeper understanding than watching a 10 minute lecture.

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