Report Of Infancy Influence On Depression In Adulthood (Part 2)

2 Broad Review of Relevant Literature

2.1 Personality In Relation With Depression

Various studies have been done on depression and its relation with developmental stages, particularly on infancy and adolescence. This report focus its exploration in the influence of infant stage on depression. Depression is defined by Farmer (2004, pp108) having various symptoms such as “low mood; poor sleep; concentration, and memory; and a diminished appetite are relatively common in the general population.”. She further elaborated a few factors contributing to depression, such as a person’s genes, environmental influence such as early age, series of events and personality. Of these factors, Farmer(2004, pp109) stated that “recent twin studies have shown that between 48% and 75% of the variance in liability to develop depression is contributed to by genetic risk factors (McGuffin, Katz, Walkins, & Rutherford, 1996)” while the rest are environmental influences. I feel that the statistic provided no conclusion of the extend which the genetical influence on depression as the statistic presented by both findings varies greatly. I would consider the environmental factor more important in this study as it is something that we have more control over and use to help our client.

Certain people are more prone to depression than others. We can define two personalities in relation to depression:

2.1.1 Performance-Oriented
This personality “ focus on proving their competence, worth, and likability with normative evaluative standards has implications for how they view failures.”( Sideridis, 2005, pp367)

2.1.2 Mastery-Oriented
This personality engage “in task arises from an inherent need for growth, learning, and improvement and has been considered a consequence of secure attachment”(Sideridis, 2005, pp367)

Mastery oriented personality focus on inherent growth that allows the person to look at situation as an opportunity for growth, including failure. He is more open to his emotion, capable of handling stress situation and less likely to be affected by setbacks. Performance oriented personality on the other hand constantly need success as a gauge to grow and to perform well in life. If they consistently fail in their task, thus lacking feel of achievement, creates stress that tends to cause strong anxiety in him together with lowered self-esteem. Anxiety as described by Gary (Cited by Chorpita & Barlow, 1998, pp3) as “a state of the conceptual or central nervous system characterized by activity of behavioral inhibition system (BIS)” and is different from fear and panic. This leads to depression. Anxiety as Sideridis (2005, pp367) described should “should be absent both prior to and in the aftermath of the challenging task”. Performance-Oriented personality is susceptible to depression. However, I find Mastery-Oriented personality to be rare and close to ideal. Most people are Performance-Oriented in nature, but some are more than the other, therefore the level of depression experience by individuals differs over similar situation.

2.2 Types Of Depression

There are two categories of depression which Coyne and Whiffen (1995,pp358) described as “sociotropic or dependent” and “autonomous or self-critical”. They elaborated both terms as:

2.2.1 Sociotropic or dependent
Person with such type of depression “seeks to establish secure interpersonal relations to bolster low self-esteem”;

2.2.2 Autonomous or self-critical
Person with such type of depression “is concerned with the achievement of internalized standards and goals and becomes self-critical when thwart”;

Similar definition of depression is also reflected by Sidney (2004), who termed both types of depression as Anaclitic(Dependent) and Introjective(Self-Critical) which I will adopt in this report. Sidney (2004, pp31) further elaborated the primary feeling of both depression:

2.2.3 Anaclitic
“ Helplessness, weakness, depletion, and being uninvolved”;

2.2.4 Introjective
“Severe conflicts with guilt”;

Although both depressions are triggered following external event, I find that Anaclitic depressor concerns on how people look at him while Introjective is more critical on meeting his own standard.

It is important for an Anaclitic depressor to be praised and appreciated by others. He needs to be noticed. Relationship to him is important as long as it satisfy his need of belonging and self-esteem. The importance of the relationship however is not about whom he is with but the gratification that he gained from it. Losing a relationship only mean finding a replacement figure to cling onto. His aim for success in his task is only a demonstration to others of his capability, in return for praise, appreciation. He is constantly wary of how others see him. Unable obtain gratifications from the relationship regularly creates anxiety and leads depression, as he finds himself not able to meet others standard and not accepted into the group. In comparison, he is like a child constantly seeking attention from his parents by performing task to catch their attention, and will feel disappointed when his parents failed to notice his work.

An Introjective depressor works hard for achievement and perfection. However, his success only provides temporary satisfaction to fulfill his self-esteem. He rarely contents with the present achievement and is self-critical that he can do more to improve the situation, therefore tends to over achieving at time. He is constantly filled with guilt and is harsh on himself to go higher. Failure therefore is a blow to an Introjective personality self-esteem and he has difficulties in accepting defeat. He has to be better than other people through demonstration of his success. It reminds me of a class mate during primary school who cried because she came in second in her school result, she needed to be first in order to have her self-esteem needs satisfied.

I find that both types of depressions are distinctly different. Anaclitic constantly seeks to belong in a group, therefore continuously trying to please others to be accepted. Introjective on the other hand, seeks to break away and to stand out from the crowd. He does not seek other’s approval but only his own recognition. The commonality in both personality however is their lack of self-esteem, with Anaclitic lacking in confidence over relationship with others while Introjective lacking confidence in himself, therefore constantly in search of gratification to fill the emptiness.

These two personalities have much relationship with childhood development, especially during infancy. Infancy is the stage when confidence building in a person started, typically in the infant’s attachment to the care giver. As Jacobs, Bleeker and Constantino (2003, pp37) have mentioned “an infant’s working model of self have been linked to parents’ level of responsiveness” and that “parental responsiveness and warmth during the first year are associated with positive working models of self for children (Rubin, Stewart, 7 Coplan, 1995)”. It is therefore important for us to explore the influence of attachment on Depression.

Report Of Infancy Influence On Depression In Adulthood (Part 1)

A few years ago, I took up a course on Graduate Diploma on Social Science (Counselling). I have done a few course work on the course and tonight I suddenly have a thought, why not I share it here? Partly I was reviewing my recent psychological development as I seem to be drifting into another round of depression myself. It is not the first time I am in depression, the first time was 2002-2003.

Anyway, here goes. First the contents and chapter 1.

1 Introduction 3
2 Broad Review of Relevant Depression 4
2.1 Personality Inrelation With Depression 4
2.2 Types Of Depression 6
3 Attachment Theory and Origin of Depression 9
3.1 Secure Attachment 10
3.2 Insecure Attachment 10
4 Case Study 13
4.1 The Story of Den 13
4.2 Den’s Personality 14
4.3 Past Experiences 15
4.4 Analysis 17
4.5 Coping Mechanism 17
4.6 Influence of Infancy 17
5 Social Influences 19
6 Questions on Clarifying Depression 19
7 Conclusion 22
8 References 22

1 Introduction

The world is having a population explosion partially because the lack of predator to prey on human. As a result, we face increase competition among human beings, which leads to increasing stress in our lives. This is especially true in the developed world where societies are becoming more complex. Stress is good as long as it promotes positive development, especially when it brings out the survival instinct in us. The negative side of stress however, may create anxiety in us, and prolonged exposure to anxiety may lead to depression.

Abela & D’Allesandro, Nolen-hoeksema, Girgus & Seligman ( cited by Sideridis, 2005, pp366) reflected that “Depression in children and adults has become more prevalent recently, and rates have increase between 10% and 17% in the general population”. Little & Garber(2005) reflected that depression is also related to other types of disorders, and that to some extend can be intergenerational. In the Singapore context, a shift is seen in the social pattern since the 70s with increasing numbers of families needing dual income. This may have already impacted the behaviour pattern of the present generation. Counselors need to understand the influence of infancy on depression as it is getting more common among the working class, who are born during the 70s.

This report looks into depression and how infancy may influence the susceptibility to depression. I will also explore the social impact in Singapore context on depression.


The Great Singapore Levy Debate

To start with, I did not really follow up closely with the Levy Debate. I only picked up bits and pieces of it in the newspaper and forum. Nevertheless I roughly have some idea that the Government is going to increase the levy for foreign workers to curb companies from further intake. This is to satisfy the complaints of the people about overwelming influx of foreigners to Singapore, and in the process competing with them on job availability.

To start with, I think the Singapore Government is climbing up the wrong tree here, since Singaporean do not want the job of those levy workers, therefore, increasing the levy will only seek to further burden the companies into cutting costs else where, such as jobs of the locals.

I caught up with Low Thia Kiang's speech in the Parliament on a total removal of the levy and instead introduce the quota system. He further described the levy is an opium to the Government. I supported him briefly in the forum thread and was responded by a supporter of the levy. He/she claimed that removing the levy will not help improve competitiveness. At the time of reading the response, I was in fact at a lost of words, and that made me think, "what exactly is the consequences of removing the levy?"

To start with how does this levy comes about? I believe it was a result of a labour shortage in the 80s that the Garment decided to take in foreign workers to cover the vacuum. The levy was used as part of the tool to control companies in application of inttake. That made me think further, "how did this shortage comes about?"

Simple, Economic boom causes more development at a single point of time requiring an increase of labour, thus companies first started grabbing from one another for more labour, but there simply not enough Singaporeans to go about. In addition, people are attracted by higher pay from companies' competitors. Now this puzzles me, because my poly management class did mention that people just don't work for money. The Macclaws hierarchy of needs stated that there are 5, physiology, safety, social, self esteem and self actualization. How is it that Singaporean can't even move onto the next step of the ladder?

I believe it is a mindset problem, not on the part of the workers, but the bosses. Even as we speak, there are still many bosses nowadays who still think, " I am not worried that this guy leave, I can afford to hire another one to take over his job." There is simply no respect given to the workers.

I recall during my younger days that the usefulness of a worker equates to how long hours he works. So if you stay up until 11pm at night and come back to work the next day, you are a good worker. If you go home on the dot, the manager will tell you that he has not loaded you enough.

This is true even in 2004 when I encountered the same thing myself. I recalled that year when I have a change of manager and one evening me and my product marketing engineer was called into his cubicle. He pointed out that the night before while he was still in the office, he saw 2 person, one product manager still wotking at 11pm and the other still replying e-mail at 2am. He praised their commitment to the job, then turned to me and my PME and ask, " can you stay back after work on those days that you don't go for courses?" I gave him my piece of mind and eventually he took me out of his team. He hired another person to take over me and to my amusement, the whole business went down the drain due to his new hired hand.

So what's the point here? Companies do not value their workers, they are always expandable and commitment questionable. The problem is: how can you expect their loyalty when you don't even vaue them? How can you blame them for leaving when you squeeze them dry at every opportunity just to make your money worth while? So even though I would jump from one shit to the other, the other shit pays me better.

People who work are not encouraged to developed their passion in the job, they are simply paid to do what the company wants them to. They are not given the opportunity to grow.

Imagine that in the Western world, there are people who are still Engineers at 60 and they are proud of it. It is almost unheard of in Singapore, once you graduates, no matter what Engineering discipline you are in, you will only use less than 1% of it.

Such mentality is not limited to companies, just look at the biggest party in Singapore, aren't they doing the same thing? The "I can afford to hire another one" is certainly alive and well in PAP. I remember the case of the SIA pilots "revolt". There was simply no negotiation on the company's part to discuss the well being of their pilots, all it needed then was to have LKY stepped in, get the Government to revoke the PR-ship of the union leader, kicked him out of the country. The pilots obediently went back to work the next day.

After all these being said, what does this have to do with the levy? Levy is a symbol of unfair treatment to the workers, it allows the companies to continue with their mindset of " there will always be others". As long as they can find replacement easily, they will never consider the rights of the workers. It will never lead to growth of staff's skills and loyalty because levy workers would change once every few years and the cycle will start again. If the reset button is kept pressing, how would the game be developed?

Garment has recently been playing their recorders on improving productivity, I would see this as a potential failure because they failed to address the most important issue, that is to take every human as human and develop base on their strength. Training is useless when effectiveness is halved when one is not interested in what he does. I can go to a seminar and at the end of the day, the most I can get out of is 10% of the whole lecture.

You want productivity? Make sure the companies value their people and not encourage them to take the easy way out, like hire another one from other country.