“Depression (from the Latin word depressio - suppression) is a psychological disorder characterized by low mood (hypotension), inhibition of intellectual and motor activity, decrease in vital motives, pessimistic assessments of oneself and one's position in the surrounding reality, somatoneurological disorders. Depression is characterized by cognitive properties such as a negative, destructive assessment of one's own personality, the outside world, and the future. Depressive states are very diverse and prevalent.”


Depression is a disorder so widespread that it is sometimes called a "cold" among mental illnesses. Each of us has ever been depressed. “I have depression,” sometimes completely healthy people say when they feel dejected in connection with their failed plans that are important to them. Despite the sad feelings, people continue to live their daily lives. In contrast, those suffering from depressive disorder experience despair and helplessness, which overcomes them for a long time, simply does not go away, and, as a rule, significantly impairs the person’s ability to think and act adequately, which cannot but affect his work and communication with people.

Psychological Theories of Depression

Analysis of the main approaches to the problem of depressive disorders

The definition of depression refers to various fields, combining heterogeneous phenomena: 1) low mood; 2) mental and speech inhibition; 3) motor inhibition. Due to the fact that some of these signs also do not have an absolute value (for example, depression can also be expressed in motor excitement and agitation), some researchers are looking for a nuclear disorder (O.P. Vertogradova, V.N.Sinitsky 1986, J.L. Nuller). At the same time, I am glad that researchers still distinguish three levels at which depression is manifested: affective, ideator, and motor (Vertogradova O.P. et al.).

Attempts to streamline the accumulated data on depressive disorders have found implementation in numerous typologies and classifications (Kleist 1928, Ploticher 1968, Najarov 1968, Yu.L. Nuller 1973, Kielholz 1970, Khvilivitsky 1972, etc.).

“Someone based on the clinic’s traditional cause-and-effect criterion, which allows one to distinguish primary and secondary depression. The division into primary and secondary depression enables clinicians to identify the leading or supporting role of depressive disorder in the syndrome, regardless of the discussion of etiology, and avoiding discussion of the relationship between endogenous-reactive or psychotic-neurotic.

Thus, the dichotomy ”primary - secondary", establishing a causal relationship between various disorders, solves diagnostic problems by establishing primary: ”1) the time of manifestation; 2) in terms of severity (volume of symptoms); 3) in therapeutic dynamics (in the order of reduction).”

Another approach involves choosing the etiological criterion as the basis for classifying depressive disorders. So, depressive disorders are identified that have an internal biological cause - endogenous depression, and external (in the broad sense as exogenous effect) - reactive depression. Factors causing endogenous depression and factors provoking reactive depression belong to two fundamentally different classes of causes. The first includes genetic, biochemical material processes that occur in the internal environment of the body; to the second - social, psychological processes that determine the adaptation of the individual.

The division of depressive disorders into psychotic and neurotic depression partially overlaps with the division into endogenous and exogenous depressions, being more ambiguous. It arose mainly under the influence of the theoretical works of Freud and other psychoanalysts, and the criterion for the severity of symptoms was the basis of the typology. The separation “psychotic-neurotic” is the main position of the traditional diagnostic classifications, in particular ICD-9, DSM-1 and DSM-P. The concept of”neurotic depression"does not have a single definition and is used in the literature in the following senses: 1) non-psychotic form of depression, characterized by the absence of delirium, hallucinations, and disturbances in perception; 2) non-endogenous depression, i.e. caused by psychological causes, not biological factors; 3) situation-related depression; 4) maladaptive personality pattern; 5)”non-autonomous"type of depression. The later classifications of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-I1L, DSM-ffl-R, DSM-IV) deviated from previous nomenclatures by excluding this category, which ceased to exist as a separate section. However, according to some authors (Molodetsky V.A. 1997), the elimination of the etiological factor from the classifications caused the loss of the psychological (substantive) aspect, both in considering the genesis of depression and in choosing adequate measures.

Another direction of creating typologies of depression is associated with the allocation as a criterion for classifying a formal attribute - a type of leading affect. So, Vertogradova O.P. emits a melancholy, anxious and apathetic affect, causing the formation of specific ideator and motor disorders. The psychological definition of affect does not coincide with the clinical one, leaves apathy outside the circle of emotional phenomena, rather as a negative disorder of the emotional sphere, lack of affect.

Empirically, clusters of obligate and optional depressive symptoms were identified. This approach is the basis of practical guidelines (DSM) and recognizes the equality of all theoretical directions, combining biological, psychoanalytic, behavioral theories and research in solving the problems of treatment and the study of mental disorders.

Summarizing the various qualifications of depression as a disorder, determined primarily by the emotional experiences of the negative spectrum (hypotensive affect), we consider the authors' views of the main models of depression on the etiology of these experiences. It should be noted that in the literature even the term”depression"is used in various meanings. So, depression means clinical syndrome (O.P. Vertogradova et al. 1980), a nosological unit (Yu.L. Nuller, T.Ya. Khvilivitsky), type of emotional reaction.

“A study of the psychoanalytic concepts of depression showed that the study of depression begins with Z. Freud's classic work"Sorrow and Melancholy”(1917). He associates the occurrence of depression with the loss of a beloved object, but unlike the “work of sorrow”, when the principle of reality is preserved, melancholy is caused by an “unconscious loss” associated with the narcissistic nature of affection and the introjection of the properties of the object of love. According to Freud, outwardly directed hostility (aggression) in the form of deprivation of energy and self-accusations, when depressed, is directed to a lost object, which, as a result of identification, has become part of the Ego. Psychoanalysts suggest that a predisposition to suffering is formed at the oral stage of development of the infant, during his period of maximum helplessness and dependence. The loss of the libido object (real or imagined) leads to regression, in which the ego goes into a state of dominant infantile trauma. The occurrence of depression is associated not with the real, but with the “internal object” whose prototype is the mother or even the mother’s breast, satisfying the vital needs of the baby. The traumatic experiences associated with weaning form an unstable self-esteem, as a result of which the patient fails to achieve self-confidence in adulthood, and he returns to his ambivalent dependence on the breast. M. Klein (1948) sees the origin of depression precisely in the realization of this ambivalence. The concept of “depressive position” introduced by the author describes the stage through which each child (or patient in the analysis) goes through, realizing that his love and hate are directed to the same object - the mother. It is fixation in a depressive position, according to Klein, that causes a depressive disorder. As a common genetic soil for depressive and obsessive disorders, Winnicott (1958) saw the impossibility of successfully passing the stage of depressive position. According to his concept, depression is a regression to the time when the child made his first successes with the help of his mother, and obsession is to the image of an educating, restraining and punishing mother (Winnicott1958) Fairbairn (1952), who deduced the etiology of depression (as well as schizophrenia), also has an ontogenetic position. ) from developmental disorders of a child who is at the stage of complete dependence on the mother and her nursing breast.”

The common principle position of psychoanalysts is the recognition of all depressions as an exogenous disorder that arose in response to a traumatic event. Although depression can be considered an autonomous entity, i.e. arising once as a result of frustrating effects and persisting throughout life, it is etiologically defined as reactive.

Behavioral theories of depression, as well as psychoanalytic, are etiological, however, unlike psychoanalysis, which focuses on intrapsychic phenomena, behavioral approaches focus attention on behavior, and reasoning is based on strictly verified phenomena.

“The central construct with which most behavioral theories explain the onset of depression is the phenomenon of"trained helplessness”(Seligman, 1975). This phenomenon, observed in experiments on animals subjected to inevitable shock, was proposed as an analogue of reactive depression in humans. It has been suggested that repeated exposure to imminent pain or threat leads to fear, suffering, and depression. Depressive affect appears to be an anticipation of a traumatic event and a consequence of negative learning. Other behaviorists, using the terms of the theory of operant learning, suggest that depressed individuals have lost certain types of adaptive behavior as a result of a lack of reinforcement, and they have enhanced “deliverance” and “avoidance” behavior. The behaviorist approach does not allow us to understand the personality as a whole and the constants that characterize this individual.”


The cognitive theory of depression (A. Beck 1967.1976, A. Bandura 1977.1983) is based on the assertion that a person’s view of himself, the world and his future is the main determinant of depression. A. Beck claims that cognition is the primary determinant of emotions, moods and behavior. A negative look at oneself makes a depressed person consider himself as”inadequate"and”worthless"and explain his own misfortunes with his defects. A negative outlook on the future makes him see an endless series of torments ahead. A. Beck explains most of the typical depressive symptoms, such as paralysis of the will, suicide attempts, and self-depreciation as a result of specific cognitive determinants.

“According to A. Beck, depressive symptoms are the result of a kind of false"unconscious conclusions”, and all manifestations of the depressive syndrome are a consequence of the activation of negative cognitive patterns. The behavioral symptoms observed in depression are a reflection of a violation of the motivational sphere: paralysis of the will, avoiding behavior, etc.” In depression, a person sees himself as weak and helpless, seeks help from others and gradually becomes more and more dependent on others. The physical symptoms are explained by A. Beck as a general psychomotor inhibition resulting from the refusal of activity due to full confidence in the futility of any undertakings.

The works of A. Beck provide a comprehensive analysis of the symptoms and phenomenology of depression. He attributes the characteristics of depression to 5 main groups: emotional, cognitive, motivational, autonomic and physical. Emotional manifestations are expressed by the often observed depression or depressed mood. Cognitive manifestations are represented by the tendency of a depressed person to consider himself as inferior in relation to what is most important to him. Motivational manifestations are represented by passivity, dependence, avoidance and paralysis of the will, vegetative and physical - by loss of appetite and sleep disorders.

A. Beck identifies the following cognitive patterns that produce depressive states: cognitive triad, cognitive patterns and cognitive errors. The functioning of these patterns contributes to the formation of feelings of helplessness and environmental dependence of the depressed subject. Due to certain distortions of thought processes, rules are built on the basis of incorrect conclusions such as “not to be successful means to be completely unsuccessful”.

The cognitive approach introduces a number of important concepts that allow us to extrapolate them to the area of ​​normal mental functioning of self-consciousness, and we are one of the most psychologically developed models of depression. However, some authors consider reducing the depressive symptom complex to a cognitive causative factor unproven and believe that cognitive impairment is more a consequence rather than a cause of depressive states.

Cases of suddenly occurring depressive states of the type of circular depression and a change in the phase of the disease with manic-depressive psychosis do not find their explanation in the framework of cognitive theory.

“Some authors, not engaging in the development of general theories of depression, try to highlight the facts that are credited with decisive importance in the occurrence of this disorder. They, developing the ideas of egopsychology, indicate the possibility of depression as a result of the loss of the purpose of existence; as well as violations of social ties and loss of social identity.”

Often in a depressed state, suicidal ideas arise - thoughts of intentionally depriving oneself of life due to the suppression of the instinct of self-preservation.

Suicidal thoughts may have varying degrees of form, persistence and intensity, depending on the nature of the depression, its depth and course, as well as the characteristics of the situation. At the height of the development of depression, impulsive suicidal attempts are possible, however, most often suicidal tendencies appear with relatively shallow depressions without ideative and motor inhibition, with significant severity of feelings of low value, ideas of self-accusation, depressive depersonalization. Often their development is accompanied by an unfavorable situation, the loss of psychotherapeutic contact with a doctor or loved ones.

Motives driving suicidal behavior: unbearable mental pain, ideas of inferiority and self-abasement, self-punishment, self-incrimination, hypochondriacal ideas, existential impasse (hopelessness, hopelessness), incurable diseases, loss of an ecological niche, situational moments that were previously not pathogenic (family, interpersonal), etc.

Forms of Depressive Disorders

In some people, periods of depressed mood alternate with states of extreme joy and inappropriate behavior, known as mania. This form of depressive disorder is called manic depression, bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive psychosis. This disease makes a person overactive, overly confident and annoyed.

An easier, but longer-lasting form of bipolar depression is cyclotymia, or cyclothymic disorder. In a person suffering from cyclothymia, mood constantly changes from a state of hypomania (mild form of mania) to the manifestation of mild depression and vice versa.

“Bipolar depression, like major depression, can also be dangerous. During the depressive phase of the patient thoughts of suicide prevail, during the manic phase - sobriety of mind and rational abilities disappear like smoke and he is not able to foresee the grave consequences of his actions.”

Mild forms of depression such as dysthymia (dysthymic disorder or depressive neurosis) and minor depression (minor depressive disorder) are less common. Postpartum depression is a depressive disorder that develops in women in labor from one to six months after delivery. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a periodic disease that affects up to 10% of women who retain their ability to menstruate. Women with this disorder monthly feel very depressed and extremely irritated for one to two weeks before the onset of menstrual bleeding. Seasonal affective disorder occurs only at certain times of the year. People with this disorder feel drowsy and depressed during the winter or autumn months, while they feel normal in the summer.

In any of its “outfits”, depression is a condition that disfigures a person’s vision of himself, other people and the world around him.

To one degree or another, any of us is at risk of developing a depressive disorder. Depression can affect everyone: rich and poor, and young and old, both married and unmarried. Events leading to tension and stress occur in the life of every person, which can serve as a trigger for depressive disorder, especially if these are serious events, and if they follow one after another.

A diagnosis of major depressive disorder is more often made when women seek help than men. Opinion on this issue boils down to the fact that women simply seek help more often, while they are more likely to admit that they are possessed by such depressive experiences as feelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness. Men, instead of seeking psychological help, tend to drown out the manifestations of depression with alcohol or other psychoactive substances. Depression can occur secretly - in the form of a so-called masked depression, which is considered not as an independent disorder, but as a result of alcoholism or drug abuse. As a result, men more rarely seek psychological help.

Depressive disorder manifests itself in various forms. “Depressive states vary in their depth, that is, in severity. If, against the background of individual symptoms of a depressed mood, you find the strength to force yourself to engage in daily activities, this is a mild degree of depression. If there are several depressive symptoms, and despite the attempts, you are still not able to do what you need - this is moderate depression. And severe depression, when there are practically all the symptoms of the disorder and it is extremely difficult for a person to cope with the usual everyday tasks in everyday life.”

Monopolar depression (major or clinical depression) is the most common form of depressive disorder. The word monopolar implies the presence of one extreme position - the “pole"- in the range of emotions, which is characterized, respectively, by only one - dreary, depressed - mood. As a rule, this is a lasting feeling of sadness or complete joylessness, insomnia, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, loss of appetite, pain in different places, there is a heavy feeling of deep heartache - longing. In this state, a person considers himself worthless, incapable of anything, and his position is hopeless. Self-esteem is falling.

“There are different points of view on the occurrence of depression; According to doctors, the onset of the disease is associated with a violation of the processes of biochemical activity of the brain. The propensity for this disorder in some people is hereditary. In others, depression is associated with abnormalities in the hormones in the body. Among the causes may be various stresses, death of loved ones, childbirth, a state of helplessness and hormonal influences.”

In the picture of depression, four main groups of symptoms can be distinguished: mood disorders (a person falls into a state of melancholy, depression, thoughts of his own guilt arise), changes in behavior, for example, avoiding communication with other people, difficulty in thinking or cognitive impairment (absent-minded, difficult to concentrate), physical manifestations, such as sleep disturbances, weight loss, headaches. Symptoms of depression can manifest in different ways depending on age and lifestyle. It is difficult for a person to give a correct assessment of his condition, since a depressive disorder affects a person’s thinking, mental attitude, there is an undulation in mood swings.

The two main signs of depression are a persistent feeling of depression and loss of interest in the joys of life, even to the point of utter indifference to everything and everyone. A depressing feeling of depression, emptiness, complete hopelessness and worthlessness of one's own life is not just sadness, but excruciating mental pain. In depression, many are locked in themselves and fenced off from others, all this contributes to reduced sociability. In a state of depression, sexual desire may decrease, difficulties arise in achieving an erection and orgasm.

In depression, the physical picture changes: a person’s motor skills usually slow down sharply, shoulders are lowered, gait is slow, speech is slow, it is poor in words, this condition is called psychomotor inhibition. It happens, and vice versa, changes in the motor sphere indicate only when it looks unusual in the eyes of others, accelerated movements are called psychomotor agitation.

Depression greatly affects the thoughts and feelings of a person. In a depressed state, thoughts are directed only to the negative aspects of life. Difficulties in thinking are also observed, thoughts get confused, flow slowly, it is difficult to concentrate on a specific issue, distraction, and forgetfulness.

In this state, thoughts and feelings are distorted and do not reflect the actual state of things, a person experiences anxiety, is in the grip of fears, suffer from low self-esteem, suffer from feelings of own worthlessness and guilt. A depressive feeling of dissatisfaction with oneself can be aggravated by various painful manifestations, suicidal thoughts that periodically arise without a special plan, suicidal attempts, or a special plan for committing suicide.

Major depression has several less common forms, the so-called subtypes of it. “This is psychotic depression (in addition to the symptoms of depression itself, delusions and hallucinations develop, the threat of suicide rises sharply, you need to be hospitalized immediately), atypical depression (there is a mixed picture of symptoms typical of major depression and atypical"atypical”), postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis and premenstrual dysphoric disorder".

Dysthymia, or as it is also called minor depression, is a long-running form of depressive disorder, which is characterized by an enduring feeling of joylessness. In a state of dysthymia, a person is gloomy - always or almost always. The thoughts are dominated by anxiety, guilt, the person in himself is inhibited, any events and circumstances of life are perceived only as failures, condemnation of himself and others. The course of dysthymia is long - for years. The gloomy mood inherent in dysthymia leads to tension in the family, in marital relations, in the professional sphere.

In the past, dysthymia was treated mainly with the help of psychotherapy, most often with psychoanalysis. Other methods of psychotherapy for this disorder are cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal psychotherapy. Many doctors believe that the best treatment regimen is nevertheless a combination of psychotherapy with medication - antidepressants.

Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that occurs strictly at certain times of the year. Most sufferers of this disease feel depressed and lethargic in winter, while in summer their mood is normal and even joyful. As a rule, depression occurs in October-November, and ends in March-April. Some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder in other months of the year. It is accompanied by a decline in strength, fatigue, the need to sleep more, an increase in appetite, inability to concentrate on work and do something at home after work, depression prevails in the mood, anxiety, avoidance of communication, increased irritability.With the advent of spring, depression disappears. There is a surge of strength, it seems to a person that “life has returned” to him. The causes of seasonal affective disorder are still unclear. They point, in particular, to a lowered level of the hormone serotonin, to fluctuations in the hormone melatonin content, to a violation of the daily biorhythms of the body, and in some people the predisposition to this disorder is inherited.

Bipolar depression (also known as bipolar disorder, manic depression or manic-depressive psychosis). In bipolar depression, a person’s mood makes transitions between extreme positions or poles: between a sad mood (depression) and a joyful (mania). On average, in an intermediate position, the mood is normal. During the depressive phase of the disorder, the same symptoms appear as with major depression, with a change in mood, a state of mild mania (hypomania) may occur, which is characterized by increased activity, increased activity, emotional liveliness and self-confidence. In the phase of mania, the mood is abnormally elevated, excessive sociability, irritability and anger are pronounced. Such mood changes are usually little or not related to everyday events, therefore, the manifestation of the disease can significantly disrupt the normal course of life and the implementation of urgent tasks.

Attacks of bipolar depression can occur and develop in different ways. Depending on the phase of the attack, a person experiences various painful experiences. The depressive phase is characterized by the symptoms already described above. Tormented by a sense of despair and worthlessness, it is difficult to concentrate. The opposite phase of the disorder, mania, on the contrary, is characterized by good health, increased mental abilities, the mood is abnormally elevated, an unprecedented surge of strength. With the growth of mania, excitement becomes more and more rampant, and actions - unpredictable. A feeling of extreme joy is replaced by anger, any failure is simply unbearable, bouts of anger when someone tries to restrain and besiege excessively high demands on others. A distinctive feature of mania is the lack of a critical attitude to his condition. “An unusually joyful mood can be considered a sign of mania, if it is accompanied by at least three more symptoms, and unusually angry - if at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Clearly bloated self-esteem or a sense of greatness;
  • Sharply falling need for sleep;
  • Unusual obsession with talking to others or generally talkativeness;
  • Quick and inconsistent transition from one thought to another;
  • The tendency to be easily distracted by small and irrelevant details;
  • Speed ​​of movements and clearly enhanced activity in all areas of life: at work, study, in communication with people, in sex life;
  • Excessive enthusiasm for activities that promise serious future complications.

Mania is diagnosed only when these symptoms are so pronounced that they interfere with normal work, being in public places, disrupt relationships by people, in this state people are confident that they can do everything, everything is allowed.

The unbridled self-confidence of a manic patient can turn into delirium of greatness when a person believes that he is in contact with supernatural beings, this makes their behavior extremely dangerous, with a pronounced state of mania, patients in the absence of speakers hear voices - these are auditory hallucinations. Thinking with mania is accelerated, motor excitement is characteristic, sexual activity is enhanced - hypersexuality combined with thoughtless neglect of any danger can lead to illegible sexual intercourse.

Bipolar disorder occurs in some of its more rare forms, which include: accelerated circular disorder (mood disorder often changes direction, making the transitions back and forth between depression, mania and hypomania more than 4 times a year), dysphoric mania (gloomy) , mixed state and cyclothymia (a mild, not pronounced form of the disorder).

Factors Affecting Depression

We list the main psychogenic traumatic factors that affect the occurrence of depressive conditions.

Situations are short-term, but sharply affecting the personality due to the individual significance of the traumatic effects:

  1. the situation of loss is a quarrel with a loved one, violating valuable friendships, sudden disappointment in a respected and dear person, loss of a loved one due to separation or death, unexpected property collapse;
  2. a situation that suddenly violates the main orientations of the personality: violation of plans, intentions, hopes, career collapse, an acute crisis of worldview, a sudden loss of means to achieve a cherished goal (for example, a singer’s voice), serious errors of his life’s path, which led to remorse, suddenly revealed lifestyle (change of profession, situation of boycott, arrest);
  3. Suddenly traumatic effects that affect particularly vulnerable aspects of the personality.

A person can choose the following possible interpretations:

  • a statement of any physical defects assessed as ugliness, lowering a person in the eyes of others and therefore carefully hidden;
  • a statement of any lack of character that constitutes a constant source of dissatisfaction with oneself (increased shyness, timidity, clumsiness, which leads to a constant fear of becoming ridiculous in the eyes of others, insecurity about the possibility of public speaking, etc.);
  • the availability of readiness for an increased response to a specific situation due to the fact that once in the past a similar situation was very difficult to experience (fear of bathing after experiencing the danger of drowning, fear of any trip after an experienced crash, reactive reduction in working capacity after a business troubles, obsessive fear of getting sick any disease, after the patient was very excited to learn about the serious illness of a friend, the occurrence of internal anxiety that others “discovered” a carefully hidden secret).

Situations of strong lasting traumatic effects:

  • conflicts of social relations can manifest themselves as contradictions of public and personal interest, hence the clash of the individual with society as a whole, with the production team, the clash of interests of colleagues in the type of conflicts of subordination, competition, conflict of relations of ownership;
  • Conflicts of family relations are most often characterized by a clash of different attitudes, interests of family members forced to be in constant contact (contradictions of the older and younger generations, interests of the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, mother-in-law and young spouses, quarrels of brothers and sisters, conflicting relationships with neighbors);
  • conflicts of sexual relations. In the presence of a mutual feeling, however, there can be a sharp difference in the structure of the feeling of love due to the presence in spouses of a different proportion of the personality (which determines the relationship of a person to a loved one as a person with his personality characteristics) and sensual (attitude to a loved one as an object passion) components of love, which leads to a constant experience of inconsistency of each other, more and more accumulating disappointment. Very conflicting experiences of loss of trust in a loved one with subsequent shades of jealousy. In the sexual field, a contradiction often arises between moral attitudes and low drives, and usually there is submission to the temptation with subsequent attempts to streamline complex relationships. Peculiar difficulties are experienced by a person with a motivated suppression of a feeling of love due to social and moral requirements. Finally, one should point out the complex experiences associated with unrequited love.

Situations with weak but lasting traumatic effects

1. Situations of prolonged mental stress:

  • torn pace of work and life, requiring constant switching in completely unexpected directions;
  • situations of the need to constantly restrain oneself are most frequent in the context of the prevailing unfriendly Family or official relations, when the moment of inclusion in the situation is already being experienced with the expectation of further troubles.

2. The situation of increased responsibility.

3. A situation that causes a constant feeling of frustration, “dissatisfaction with oneself,” boring, uninteresting work of the same type, constantly annoying little things in a home environment, boring annoying, but not removable, degenerate annoying components of sexual life.

4. Situations of unsatisfied aspirations: forced stay at work, inadequate capabilities of a person and in no way satisfying his basic interests, cases of the impossibility of receiving a favorite job, constituting a true vocation.

“Consider the psychosocial stresses preceding the development of psychogenic depression.

1. Mild psychosocial stress:

  • quarrels with close and significant people;
  • change of work;
  • change of profession, parting with loved ones.

2. Average psychosocial stress:

  • dismissal;
  • difficulties in raising a child;
  • escape of the child from home.

3. Severe psychosocial stress:

  • acute mental disorders in the spouse;
  • death of the spouse (current relative);
  • adultery (infidelity);
  • illegitimate breaks in intimate relationships;
  • victim of a predatory attack;
  • a victim of sexual violence;
  • a victim of aggressive violence;
  • road accident;
  • forensic investigation situation.

4. Catastrophic psychosocial stress:

  • sudden death of all family members;
  • death of a child;
  • incurable diseases;
  • devastating disasters.

Subjective psychosemantics of depressed states of businessmen

The empirical base of the study was 30 respondents aged 30-56 years. The study was conducted on the basis of the Department of Psychology NIIPkRO. Thirty successful businessmen were investigated: owners of large firms of enterprises and banks, the study included conducting research procedures with a set of selected techniques, and analyzing the results.

Analyzing modern data, it can be noted that the professional activity of businessmen is accompanied (especially in our country, due to the unstable economic and political situation) with an increase in the influence of stressful situations, often with difficult negotiations, the possibility of frequent conflicts, increased anxiety due to fear of loss of capital , possible failures and failures of major transactions, which leads to the emergence of depressive tendencies, and in the future, in some cases, can lead to depression. Consequently, a deeper study and analysis of the businessman’s personality is required, which would create a set of techniques that would identify a tendency to engage in business, which would insure ah from disappointments in the professional sphere and the prevention of depressive states caused by dissatisfaction with one’s self-realization in the professional sphere.


As a result of the study, a set of semantic and projective techniques made it possible to identify the causes leading to depressive states through an assessment of the concepts of”I myself" (which performed the control function),”,"business”,"work”,"personal life”at the semantic and emotional level. Since the discrepancy in the subjective psychosemantics “Image of I” and the “Image of Activity” which you have to deal with must by all means lead to an intrapersonal conflict that can provoke the onset of depression, the method of semantic differential was a tool for studying the psychological characteristics and attitudes of subjects to business and personal life on a semantic level , where tactile and emotional scales proved to be the most informative. The modification methodology for describing semantic-perceptual universals revealed the structure of subjective experience and a system of relationships to oneself, business and personal life, and also helped to understand and understand more deeply the internal attitudes and aspirations of respondents.

In a sample of businessmen, 70% of men and 40% of women, 10% are not satisfied with their personal lives.

  1. often feel depressed, their own inferiority and uselessness: 50% of men and 10% of women;
  2. experience insomnia, often lowered mood for no reason, headaches: 60% of men and 45% of women;
  3. identify the concept of work and business: 70% of men and 40% of women;
  4. Satisfied with their own work, their own self-realization: -60% of men and 80% of women;

To the question”why are you doing business"the following answers were received:

  • 60% of men answered”that they are doing business for the sake of earning in order to support their families."30% of men answered”that they are doing business in order to have a lot of money and women like it, because now no one needs it without money, and only 10% of men answered"that they are doing business because it is interesting and satisfying to them.”
  • 80% of women answered -”for their own self-realization, since they have everything in this life, and they wanted to achieve something more."20% of women answered -”that they are doing business for extra money to be independent."

To the question”would you be engaged in a business that is not interesting for you, but that brings large incomes?":

  • 60% answered yes; 30% said”that in addition to income, work, the business should be interesting, otherwise nothing will work out; 10% said"that they are already rich enough to do what they are not interested in.”

To the question “Are you satisfied with your personal life?” - the majority of 60% of the men group responded negatively. Among the main reasons for this, there is a lack of time to engage in family and personal life in general. And 60% of women said they were completely satisfied with their personal lives.

Studies on the “Depression Scale” show

The results are as follows:

All studied business respondents have mild depressive states: the business environment in men is in three respondents, in women in two, and there is no depressive state. The average level of depression in groups:

  • men - 41.2;
  • women - 38.9
  • with an average age of 42 years in groups.

The most negative answers were given by the respondents as a whole in groups to the assertions “I feel that I live a full enough life” and “I am more irritable than usual” - especially in the sample of men.

Using the Pearson correlation coefficient, a correlation was established between the level of depression and age in the groups of respondents (the general value of the correlation coefficient for all four groups was calculated) = 0.97, which shows a clear dependence of the level of depression on the age of the subjects.

Using the semantic differential technique, averaged profiles were obtained in the samples of respondents for assessing the following concepts of “I myself”, “business” (“test aircraft” for pilots) and “personal life.” The subjects' attitudes toward these concepts were analyzed at a semantic level and sexual differences in the relationship to these concepts. The issue of identifying the concept of "I myself" with the concepts of "Personal life" and "business" is considered. Portraits of each concept were constructed in groups of respondents. And the interpretation of the data was carried out using factor correlation and cluster analysis. From the conducted factor and correlation analysis, I manage to single out the leading factor in the assessment of each concept.

Thus, the following can be noted: in the group of businessmen, the leading factor in the assessment of the proposed concepts was the “assessment” factor. This was especially pronounced in the evaluation of the concept of “Business”, with the characteristics of which, the assessment factor turned out to be the main factor in the groups of respondents. In male businessmen, in evaluating the concepts of “I myself”, the “force” factor turned out to be the leading factor, in contrast to women who rated it using the “activity” factor. In assessing the concept of “Work”, the main factor is distinguished when it is evaluated by a group of men - factor "activity". When characterizing the concept of “personal life”, two groups of men and women also emerged who had the main factor of “emotionality” and the factor of “assessment”.

According to the results of the methodology, the semantic differential with respect to the concepts of “Business”, “Work”, “I myself”, “Personal life”, revealed the following patterns:

There are differences in the attitude of businessmen to personal life and business, this shows the difference in the portraits of the concepts being studied (a particularly striking example of this is the attitude to the concepts of “Business” and “personal life”).

Most businessmen identify with the concept of “Business”, this was especially pronounced in a sample of men (almost 100% of businessmen), and almost half of male businessmen have a negative attitude to their personal lives, using the semantic method, a great dissatisfaction of men in their personal lives (dissatisfaction with their self-realization in personal life.) Women, along with a positive attitude and identification with their personal lives, positively integrate the concept of “business” into their subjective picture of the world, which characterizes a more harmonious self-actualization in both areas. Traces a great identification with “personal life”, with a fairly positive assessment of the concept of “business”.

Most businessmen identify the concepts of “work” and “business”. From this profile it can be seen that, like both men and women, these concepts are identified with 100% accuracy, which is 28% of all respondents. Although almost half of the respondents from the group of women give a more positive assessment of the concept of “work,” apparently considering work to be a wider field of activity for self-realization than business. In connection with the results obtained, a group is identified that clearly disagrees between the activities they are actually engaged in. - as work, and its assessment at the semantic level. There is a lack of choice of "extreme" assessments in the definition of concepts and the frequent use of 0 in the assessment of the scale.

Perceptual Universal Technique

The modification technique for describing semantic-perceptual universals has revealed the structure of subjective experience and systems; The respondents have different attitudes toward themselves, business, and personal life: gender and age groups.

The following was revealed in this sample: this technique demonstrated various positions of the concepts of “business”, “personal life”, “"I myself"in the structure of subjective experience.

Particularly significant patterns in the selection of figures associated with themselves and business, and personal life were not found. But in groups there is a more significant tendency to associate the concept of "I myself" with "business" than with "personal life." In women, on the contrary, a more pronounced identification of themselves with their personal lives is manifested, especially in a group of women. In some cases, there are clear contradictions between the two concepts, as, for example, in the respondent (No. 3 group of male businessmen), in which the concept of “I myself” is associated as figure 8 of the “golden sun”, and the concept of “business” is associated with figure No. 1 a black spider, which clearly shows the incompatibility in the structure of personal subjective experience of these two concepts.

On the whole, in most cases, by the groups of businessmen, the concept of business is associated with figure No. 3 (which is mainly described by such definitions as: airplane, lethal apparatus, aspiration. Basically, all definitions show the dynamics of this concept, dynamism, aspiration), which completely coincides with business definition.

There were no particular dependencies in choosing a figure, characterizing the concept of “I myself”, but the following trends appeared:

Businessmen are more inclined to evaluate themselves as figures striving for rounded shapes, avoiding sharp corners - the most common option is choosing figure No. 8 describing it as a sun circle, a snowball, which shows a certain degree of indecision, a tendency to merge with the group, gentleness of character, great sensitivity. For two respondents, this figure is associated with a black hole - it is precisely these individuals that have the highest score on the depression scale, since there is a clear negativity of the self, self-misunderstanding, self-dissatisfaction.

In the course of this technique, some differences were revealed in the structure of the subjective experience of respondents of various sex-age professional and socio-cultural groups, which was manifested in the appearance of various associations in the description of the proposed figures. Where the following trends emerged.

In the group of businessmen there is a fairly frequent mention of animated images, animal images, adjectives are more often used, especially the frequent use of the associative alphabet in the description of images.

In general, according to the results of this technique, with a free description of the form, first of all, emotional and evaluative properties are used. A characteristic feature of all descriptions is a large number of emotionally evaluative signs of data, sometimes not at all emotiogenic images, i.e. less commonly described is the image form, the properties of the contour, which directly relates to the image itself. And much more often the attitude to the image was described, his emotional assessment was given, which was most clearly manifested in a group of women businessmen.

Semantic-perceptual universals are formed in the process of accumulation of subjective experience, with the living conditions and activities of the individual. Therefore, one should add to their characteristics that they are similar in certain groups of subjects and differ depending on which ethnic and professional group each person belongs to. Since perception depends on the structure of subjective experience, an individual vision of the world, it must first of all depend on the professional orientation of a person. Which was revealed during this empirical study.

SAMOAL Methodology

The results of this methodology were analyzed in comparison with the previous ones. A direct dependence was revealed in most cases of the influence of the level of self-actualization on the state of the level of depression. For example, respondent No. 11 (a group of male businessmen) has the lowest level of desire for self-actualization, k = 21%, which coincides with negative assessments of the concept of “I myself” using the methods of semantic differential and color-associative experiment, as well as a rather large level of depression by the methodology"Depression scale " Also, the highest level of desire for self-actualization by groups was noted in the group of women businessmen, k = 85%, and according to the clinical conversation and the results of other methods, this respondent assesses himself as quite successful, with good self-esteem, having satisfaction in work, personal life and communication with others. An analysis of the results for all groups of respondents confirms a direct correlation between the high level of the coefficient of desire for self-actualization and the most positive results by other methods.

From the analysis of the ranking of values, one can characterize, in general, a group of businessmen, both men and women as people in general, with an average desire for self-realization, although sharing the values ​​of a self-actualizing personality, to which A. Maslow attributed such things as truth, goodness, beauty , integrity, perfection, justice, etc. The preference for these values ​​indicates the desire for a harmonious life and health in relationships with people with high communicative abilities, capable of establishing a strong and friendly relationship with others; aspiring to actually live in the present without delaying their lives for later and not trying to find refuge in the past, but with a low level of desire for creativity, low self-understanding of their desires and needs, more oriented to the opinions of others - D. Rismen called “Oriented” from the outside “as opposed to oriented from the inside out”, prone to merging with a group without vivid self-expression, this is especially manifested in a group of men.


In general, according to the results of an experimental study of subjective psychosemantics among businessmen, the following conclusions can be drawn:

Despite the external well-being, among successful businessmen, there are depressive states. Despite the fact that the experiment was carried out at normal rates, nevertheless, a number of individuals were found in whom the “Depression Level” according to the results of the “Depression Scale” methodology exceeded the norm. This shows the presence of a mild form of depression in some people engaged in “successful” business. It turned out that many businessmen are characterized by a rather pronounced level of internal discomfort, which in individuals is expressed in a more explicit form (which was also confirmed using a complex of semantic and projective techniques) A significant correlation between the level of depression and the age of the subjects was established using correlation analysis.Men businessmen showed more pronounced tendencies for depressive disorders (primarily due to dissatisfaction with their own self-realization in their personal lives and insufficient self-satisfaction in work).

The hypothesis of the study was confirmed that the prerequisite for depressive tendencies among businessmen is the lack of self-identification with the concepts of “Personal life” and “business”, and, therefore, dissatisfaction with their own self-realization in their careers (in particular business) and personal life. According to the data obtained in the course of this study, it was found that the greatest level of depressive tendencies is found in individuals who have obvious contradictions in self-identification with personal life and business. In general, the concept of lack of self-realization in the professional sphere and personal life (this was most evident in a group of male businessmen, especially those who cannot find compensation for an “unsuccessful” personal life in work) leads to the appearance of depressive states.

According to the results of a study of subjective psychosemantics, differences in the relationships "Personal life" "business" and work "among various professional and age groups were revealed, since the formation of relations to them is determined by various social experiences.

The following trends were revealed: most businessmen of all groups identify with the concept of “Business”, this was especially pronounced for a group of men, and almost half of male businessmen have a negative attitude to their personal lives. Women, along with a positive attitude and identification with their personal lives quite positively embed in their subjective picture of the world the concept of “business”, which characterizes a more harmonious self-actualization in both areas.

The hypothesis was confirmed that people who do not identify the concepts of “work” and “business” are more prone to the most depressive tendencies, since the discrepancy in the definition of these concepts reveals hidden mechanisms of dissatisfaction with one’s own activity, and, therefore, dissatisfaction with self-realization in the professional sphere. There is a direct correlation between the increase in UD and the discrepancy in the characterization of the concepts of “Business” (which is currently the leading work) and the concept of “Work”. Only 50% of these concepts were revealed in a group of businessmen. Although almost half of the respondents from the group of Russian women give a more positive assessment of the concept of “work,” apparently considering work to be a wider field of activity for self-realization than business. In connection with the results obtained, a group is identified in which there is a clear discrepancy between the activities that they are actually engaged in -like work, and its assessment on a semantic level, and then on a deep emotional level.

The following trends are identified:

In general, all groups of respondents have a fairly high self-acceptance.

For male businessmen (M = 25), on the contrary, according to the results of all the methods, avoidance of excessive activity, the desire to evade conflicts, expressed sensitivity, much greater anxiety, rejection of one's personal life, and self-doubt are advocated. And during the clinical conversation, the majority expressed that they were doing business not for their own self-realization, but to please someone else, to get money for someone, etc. However, the tendency to neurotic reactions most often does not occur in their real life due to the rather high compensation among the majority of respondents in this group of men. Although a group of women businessmen show this to a somewhat lesser extent, they are more inclined to accept their personal lives and show more activity in their life position in general, which, according to experts, is more conducive to doing business.

A different approach was revealed in the structure of the subjective experience of various groups of respondents. In a sample of businessmen using the SAMOAL methodology, a large desire for self-realization in a group of women was revealed. On average, in groups, the coefficient of desire for self-realization is 46.5% in men, and slightly higher than 54.5% in women, which confirms more positive results in a group of women obtained by other methods. And the close correlation between the co-factors of the depression level and the desire for self-realization is also traced, which also confirms the hypothesis about the effect of dissatisfaction with self-realization on the development of depressive states.

This fact underlines the importance of developing new, more advanced psychological approaches, psychodiagnostic and psychocorrectional measures in relation to depressed patients. This is especially due to the increase in the number of depressive states in recent times. In this regard, the use of a complex of psychosemantic and projective methods is quite effective for studying the causes of provoking intrapersonal conflicts and thereby generating depressive states. Since the subject’s attitude towards the world coming into contact with him is biased, he actively structures this world in his mind creating his projection. The analysis of this structuring and this projection is the subject of psychosemantic methods. These methods, by virtue of their flexibility, make it possible to study in detail the numerous and always different manifestations of the personality, due to its structure. Identify this structure, and it is always extremely complex and has multiple qualitative manifestations.

By: Kevin Kulic Ph.D.

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