Behavioral Models of Depression: A Critique of the Emphasis on Positive Reinforcement

  • Abreu P
  • Santos C
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This paper provides a review of behavioral models of depression highlighting the problems associated with its historical emphasis on lowered frequencies of positive reinforcement. We analyzed the models of Ferster and Lewinsohn in their theoretical approach, methodology and application. We conducted a review of the suppressive characteristics exercised by punishment, by the presentation of non-contingent aversive stimulation and by operant extinction. A number of recommendations are made concerning how these processes can inform interventions. We conclude that interventions geared towards identifying aversive control play a promising role in clinical change in the treatment of depression.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Behavior Disorders
  • Criticism
  • Depression (Psychology)
  • Intervention
  • Models
  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Stimulation

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  • Paulo Roberto Abreu

  • Carlos E Santos

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