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.


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