Critically Discuss the Problems Involved with Studying the Effects of Stressful Life Events on Depression

2071 Words9 Pages
Topic Three: Abnormal Psychology Critically discuss the problems involved with studying the effects of stressful life events on depression Each research method has its own particular strength and weakness in helping us to understand the nature and causes of abnormal behaviour, specifically, the effects of stressful life events on depression. Because of the personal nature of studying the effects of stressful life events on depression, a series of problems which “compromise our ability to make clear causal inferences about the effects of life events on first onset of major depression” (Kessler 1997) have been observed. These problems relate to both quantitative and qualitative methods of study. The quantitative data method describe, for example, longitudinal and cross sectional surveys while qualitative methods interpret, using, for example, group discussions, in-depth interviews and case studies. The following paper will critically discuss examples of both quantitative and qualitative methods and their positive and negative features which create problems for researchers studying the effects of stressful life events. The first area to be critically discussed are the problems involved in using case studies. Case studies involve detailed observation of a single patient’s behaviour with the clinician organizing many observations conceptually (Davison and Neale 1998). In most case studies, explanations of the events occur after the fact and there is little opportunity to rule out other possible explanations by controlling for them. Even after the most intensive study of an individual case it cannot be assumed that the true cause of the behaviour has been isolated. Troubled people more often than not leave out important information in telling their stories to clinicians. They frequently fail to remember significant experiences and the feelings and

More about Critically Discuss the Problems Involved with Studying the Effects of Stressful Life Events on Depression

Open Document