The Bargaining Model of Depression

Hagen, Edward H (2003) The Bargaining Model of Depression. [Book Chapter]

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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 both dysfunctional and functional accounts of depression. Given that the principal 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 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:depression, suicide, psychiatry, psychopathology
Subjects:Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Psychology > Clinical Psychology
ID Code:4135
Deposited By: Hagen, Edward
Deposited On:27 Mar 2005
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

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