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Understanding Social Change$
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Anthony F. Heath, John Ermisch, and Duncan Gallie

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263143

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263143.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

The Social Origins of Depression and the Role of Meaning

The Social Origins of Depression and the Role of Meaning

(p.254) (p.255) 10. The Social Origins of Depression and the Role of Meaning
Understanding Social Change

George W. Brown

British Academy

This chapter discusses the role of social factors in ill health, with a particular focus on depression. Major life events increase the risk of most depressive disorders. In a longitudinal study carried out in the early 1980s of 400 mothers in Islington, 1 in 10 developed a depressive disorder within a year, and most of those had a severely threatening life event not long before. This chapter also summarises the three forms of meaning relevant for the aetiology of depression. First, the role-based meanings of severe events relate to traditional anthropological and sociological concerns. Second, the evolutionary-derived meanings show that the experience of humiliation following a severe event is critical in the development of depression. Finally, the memory-linked emotional schemas influence a person's vulnerability to events.

Keywords:   ill health, depression, depressive disorders, role-based meanings, evolutionary-derived meanings, memory-linked emotional schemas

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