The bargaining model of depression

Hagen, Edward H (2002) The bargaining model of depression. [Book Chapter] (In Press)


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Minor depression—low mood often accompanied by a loss of motivation—is almost certainly an adaptation to circumstances that, in ancestral environments, imposed a fitness cost. It is, in other words, the psychic equivalent of physical pain. Major depression is characterized by additional symptoms—such as loss of interest in virtually all activities and suicidality—that have no obvious utility. The frequent association of these severe and disabling symptoms with apparently functional symptoms like sadness and low mood challenges a functional account of depression as a whole. Given that the principle cause of major unipolar depression is a significant negative life event, and that its characteristic symptom is a loss of interest in virtually all activities, it is possible that this syndrome functions somewhat like a labor strike. When powerful others are benefiting from an individual’s efforts, but the individual herself is not benefiting, she can, by reducing her productivity, put her value to them at risk in order to compel their consent and assistance in renegotiating the social contract so that it will yield net fitness benefits for her. In partial support of this hypothesis, depression is associated with the receipt of considerable social benefits despite the negative reaction it causes in others.

Item Type:Book Chapter
Keywords:unipolar depression bargaining
Subjects:Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Psychology > Clinical Psychology
Psychology > Social Psychology
ID Code:2471
Deposited By: Hagen, Edward
Deposited On:23 Sep 2002
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

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