Hormonal Explanation for depression

  1. What is costisol?
    A stress hormone released by the endocrine system and produced in the adrenal gland
  2. Which individuals have been found to have high levels of cortisol?
    People with unipolar depression
  3. What differences are found in the adrenal gland of depressed patients?
    The adrenal gland is enlarged
  4. What happens to levels of cortisol in depressed patients after stressful events have disappeared?
    Levels remain high
  5. What happens if an individual feels unable to cope with stress
    They may respond maladaptively and become depressed
  6. What conclusions can be drawn from the fact that cortisol levels remain high after the disappearance of stressful events
    Depressive episodes continue in the absence of any obvious external stressful events
  7. How many women are diagnosed with depression compared to their male counterparts?
    Over twice as many
  8. State one theory as to why depression is much more common in women
    Hormonal changes- fluctuating levels of oestrogen and progesterone
  9. The fluctuating levels of which two hormones are believed to contribute to depression in females?
    Oestrogen and progesterone
  10. Give three periods in a woman's life that may cause changes in hormone levels
    After childbirth, the menstrual cycle and menopause
  11. What did Baker et al study in relation to hormonal explanations for depression?
    The admissions of female patients into one psychiatric hospital
  12. What were the findings of the Baker et al study?
    41% of women entered the hospital on the day before or the first day of their menstrual cycle
  13. What can be concluded from the Baker et al study?
    Females are far more likely to experience depression during their menstrual cycles
  14. Give an example of contradictory evidence against the hormonal explanation
    Research linking post natal depression to oestrogen and progesterone levels has not strongly supported the claim that fluctuations of these chemicals cause the disorder
  15. Name one other factor that may cause depression
    Change in social circumstances, for instance having to adapt to life as a mother or losing the ability to have children
  16. What did Hendrick et al suggest in 1988?
    Alternate factors such as life events, marital problems and 'difficult babies' have a much greater effect on hormones than a woman's mood
  17. Suggest 2 social or cultural factors that may mean more women are diagnosed with depression than men
    It is more socially acceptable for a female to be emotionally vulnerable

    Females are much more likely to visit the doctor or attend therapy
  18. Why can't the hormonal explanation be generalised to all women?
    All women undergo hormonal changes but not all women suffer from depression
  19. Give one feminist objection to the hormonal explanation
    Associating natural hormone changes in women with illness and weakness is a way of supporting the patriarchal systems of male dominance and power
Card Set
Hormonal Explanation for depression
AQA PSYB3 Mood disorders