Depression is considered to be a complex disease. It emerges because of different reasons. Some people undergo depression during a major medical illness. Others may experience depression when such life changes as a loss of a job or income or the death of a relative take place in their life. Some people inherit depression from their parents. Some individuals have depression due to alcohol or drug addiction. In any case, depression does not have a sole source. Instead, it results from a combination of different things - one’s genes, past experience, current affairs, etc.

The Biological Perspective and the Causes of Depression

The biologicalperspective studies physiological aspects of behavior and mental processes and believes that a type of behavior is inherited and can be adapted. Biological psychologists define behaviors in neurological terms – they study the structure of the brain and analyze how it affects behavior. The biological perspective has a tight connection with different mental disorders, especially depression (Hockenbury 10).

It explains that depression advances when the brain does not receive an adequate supply of natural chemicals, such as serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine. Because of the lack of those chemicals the brain activity is not normal, and, as a result, people are not happy, positive and relaxed. Also, it can be suggested that depression is passed on genetically: children or parents of people with severe depression are more prone to suffer from depression than the other members of the general population.

Thus, biological approach explains that the causes of depression emerge because of organic problems, biochemical imbalances and genetic predispositions.

The PsychodynamicPerspective and the Causes of Depression

The psychodynamic perspective emphasizes that unconscious influences and early life experience are highly significant for explaining behaviors (Hockenbury 10). The founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, confirmed that childhood incidents have a significant effect on one’s behavior as an adult. He explained that the unconscious has the most fundamental influence on behavior.

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The psychodynamicapproach explains that depression appears because of an inner conflict. Moreover, depression can stem from improper psychosexual development in the childhood. As a result, in a puberty period the youth are not able to learn appropriate sexual behavior.

Thus, psychodynamic perspective explains that depression arises because of internal, unconscious conflicts.

The Humanistic Perspective and the Causes of Depression

Humanistic perspective is characterized by a holistic approach to the study of the person. Humanistic psychologists declare that all people have an endowment for self-actualization which is a unique potential for psychological growth and self-direction (Hockenbury 11). Also, they analyze the impact of interpersonal relationships on a person’s self-concept.

The humanistic approach explains that a person gets depression because the society pressures prevent him/her from realizing his/her real potential. When one is not progressing in their growth and fulfillment, they become depressed. It is obvious that depression appears as a result of poor self-concept and low self-esteem.

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Thus, humanistic perspective explains that the causes of depression emerge because of failure to cope with life's situations and inability to achieve self-actualization.

The CognitivePerspective and the Causes of Depression

The cognitive perspective studies cognition and is concerned with such mental functions as memory, perception, attention etc. Cognitive psychology explains that depression appears because of negative thinking and faulty perception of oneself. It is believed that people become depressed because they concentrate their attention on negative past events and have a pessimistic attitude to their life and future.

Thus, cognitive perspective explains that the causes of depression emerge because of irrational thoughts or detrimental ways of thinking.


Depression is caused by a mixture of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.  Therefore, the causes of depression must be considered from various angles, combining different psychological perspectives.

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