lthugh nt every study exmining the questin f whether depressed individuls hve this explntry style hs crrbrted this hypthesis, there hve been lrge number f supprtive studies. Indeed, Sweeney, ndersn, nd Biley (1986) cnducted met-nlysis f 104 studies nd cncluded tht there ws strng supprt fr the link between the pessimistic explntry style fr negtive events nd depressin, nd wek t mderte supprt fr the link between the pessimistic style fr psitive events nd depressin.
Lerned helplessness is phenmenn cntining three cmpnents: cntingency, cgnitin, nd behvir. Cntingency ddresses the uncntrllbility f the situtin. Cgnitin refers t the ttributins tht peple mke regrding their situtin r surrundings f which they re prt. Behvir llws individuls t decide whether they will give up r prceed with the bstcle set befre them (Petersn, Mier, & Seligmn, 1993).
When peple experience lerned helplessness, they hve tendency t give up esily r fil mre ften t smewht esier tsks. Lerned helplessness is mre likely t result frm situtins where filure is uncntrllble. Fr exmple, Gernign, Fleurnce, nd Reine (2000) cnducted study n filure in cntrlled nd uncntrlled circumstnces. They fund tht filure ws mre likely t ccur in uncntrllble circumstnces.
nther study, cnducted by Stiensmieier-Pelster nd Schurmnn (1989), ddressed filure in terms f blming the results n internl r externl fctrs nd hw perfrmnce ws ffected by the respnse. They perfrmed tw tests n subjects nd then rted their perfrmnces. The reserchers fund tht the subjects, wh relted the filure t internl cuses, such s the tsk ws intellectully t difficult fr them persnlly, were mre inclined t give up thn thse wh ttributed their filures t externl cuses, such s thinking tht the test itself hd impssible questins.
Mny fctrs ld int the cnstruct f lerned helplessness. Fr exmple, the type f situtin my ffect the wy tht peple respnd t difficult tsks. If persn is frced t perfrm in public, fctrs such s nxiety influence perfrmnce. In lerned helpless situtins, perfrmnce deficits ften result frm lw mtivtin due t the beliefs tht the persn is nt in cntrl (Witkwski & Stiensmeier-Pelster, 1998).
Lerned helplessness hs n effect n wide crss-sectin f peple. Kshdn et l. (2000) pplied the cnstruct specificlly t disruptive children. They cmpred mthers wh experienced high-scil nxiety with mthers wh hd lw-scil nxiety by plcing them with n uncntrllble, devint child in n experimentl setting. The reserchers hd hypthesized tht the mthers with high-scil nxiety wuld be mre distressed fter the interctin with the child, nd s result, they wuld hve mny negtive feelings. The mesures f distress included self-rtings, bserved md rtings, hert rte, nd bld pressure. In the end, the experiment nd the experimenters hyptheses were supprted; crrect-mthers with high scil nxiety shwed lwer threshld fr ctivted negtive emtins such s nxiety, nger, nd irritbility nd less psitive interpersnl enggement.
Lerned helplessness cn ffect ne type f persn mre thn nther cn. study cnducted by Milich nd kzki (1991) suggests tht DHD bys becme frustrted mre esily when cnfrnted with filure thn thse withut DHD. Tsks were presented t 23 bys dignsed with DHD nd 22 bys cmprising cntrl grup. The tsks invlved slving wrd puzzles where in ne cnditin the tsks were extremely hrd nd the thers were reltively esy. The reserchers fund tht the bys with DHD shwed n increse in hw esily they quit fter