What is the cognitive-behavioral model of depression?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Cognitive-behavioral models of depression suggest that the presence of negative life events in addition to one’s perception of or reaction to those events may impact the development and maintenance of depressive symptoms. Cognitive models of depression posit that negative cognitions and underlying all-or-nothing schemata contribute to and perpetuate depressed mood. [28] More specifically, cognitive vulnerability-stress models suggest that, in the face of negative life events, individuals who have a tendency to make negative attributions about the causes of those events, about themselves, and about future consequences (in line with the hopelessness theory of depression) may be more likely to develop depression. [34] This has been suggested as potentially contributing to gender differences in rates of depression following puberty (e.g., Hyde, Mezulis, and Abramson [35] ). Behavioral models suggest that depression may result from deficits in response-contingent positive reinforcement andinadequate social skills [36] or reliance upon escape and avoidance behaviors, [37] such that avoidance behaviors in response to negative life events and corresponding negative emotions may lead to worsened depression. [38]

In addition, neurochemical hypotheses point to the deleterious effects of cortisol and other stress-related substances on the neuronal substrate of mood in the CNS.


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