Learned Helplessness Contributing to Post Traumatic Stress and Depression

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Learned Helplessness Contributing to Post Traumatic Stress and Depression Summary: Bargai, Shakhar, and Shalev (2007) designed a correlational study to test the idea that exposure to violence facilitates learned helplessness, which may contribute to the development of mental illness in battered women. This experiment is a correlational experiment because none of the variables involved are being manipulated, they are being measured. They are measuring post traumatic stress disorder(PTSD), major depressive disorder(MDD), learned helplessness, history of physical and sexual violence, and the presence of a male dominated background. The researchers’ aim was to see if there was a correlational relationship between exposure to violence, learned helplessness, PTSD, and major depression in battered women. More specifically, women who have a reported history of abuse. The independent variables consist of the participants current DSM-IV Axis I diagnosis, and the different types of questionnaires and self reports provided by the researchers. The main dependent variable of this study was the level of learned helplessness the participants reported, compared along with the different levels of severity for PTSD, depression, past abuse and male dominated backgrounds reported. In short, the researchers hypothesized that exposure to violence was positively correlated with learned helplessness. Furthermore they hypothesized that learned helplessness was associated with a history of physical and sexual violence as well as a male dominated upbringing. The sample originally included 140 women from 8 shelters for battered women in Israel, all of whom had previously been involved in an abusive heterosexual relationship. Prior to the initial... ... middle of paper ... ...ale domination is positively correlated with learned helplessness, and mental disorders such as PTSD and major depressive disorder. Each participant was administered several questionnaires and self reports that were appropriate to the subjects being measured. The results confirmed the researchers hypothesis. Those who were diagnosed with PTSD and MDD had high correlations with learned helplessness as well as all other conditions measured. Therefore, the researchers concluded that learned helplessness as a result of exposure to violence, may lead to the development of mental illness. References Bargai, N., Ben-Shakhar, G., & Shalev, A.Y., (2007). Posttraumatic stress disorder and depression in battered women: The mediating role of learned helplessness. Journal of Family Violence, 22, 276-275. doi: 10.1007/ s10896-007-9078-y

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