Understanding Depression: Feminist Social Constructionist Approaches, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Understanding Depression

Feminist Social Constructionist Approaches, 1st Edition

By Janet Stoppard


256 pages

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Paperback: 9780415165631
pub: 1999-11-11
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Women are particularly vulnerable to depression. Understanding Depression provides an in-depth critical examination of mainstream approaches to understanding and treating depression from a feminist perspective. Janet Stoppard argues that current approaches give only partial accounts of womens' experiences of depression and concludes that a better understanding will only be achieved when womens' experiences and lived realities are considered in relation to the material and social conditions in which their everyday lives are embedded. The impact of this change in approach for modes of treatment are discussed and solutions are suggested.

Understanding Depression offers new insights into the problem and its treatment. It will prove useful to those with an interest in depression and gender as well as mental health practitioners.


Janet Stoppard has produced an immensely insightful and thought-provoking work, and my advice to anyone interested in understanding depression is to get hold of it. It fills a gap in the available literature, and points towards new directions for research. - Siân E. Lewis, Psychological Health Sheffield, in 'Feminism & Psychology'

Stoppard provides a clear, well-organized and in-depth critique of the dominant models of depression as well as solid introduction to social constructionist terminology ^DEL She advocates for an understanding that is partial and strives to open up dialogue among and between various modes of thinking ^DEL [This book] would be appropriate as an introductory text for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in psychology, critical theory or women's studies. Additionally, clinicians interested in retheorizing depression from a socio-political perspective will find this book enormously helpful.

- Bethany Riddle, Duquesne University, in Theory & Psychology

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction. Depression: a gendered problem. What is depression? Definitional debates. Part II: Explaining Depression in women: mainstream frameworks. Looking for sources of depression within person environment interactions: diathesis-stress models. Depression and women's psychology: susceptibility or specifity? Social Models of depression: sources of adversity and stress in women's lives. Women's bodies, women's lives and depression: exploring material-discursive approaches. Part III: Embodied lives: understanding depression in women in context. Depression in adolescence: negotiating identities in a girl-poisoning culture. Women's lives and depression: marriage and motherhood. Women and agining: depression in midlife and old age. Part IV: Implications for theory and practise: feminist socil constructionist approaches. Women overcoming depression: coping, treatment and politics. Why new perspectives are needed for understanding depression in women.

About the Author

Janet M. Stoppard is a Professor in Psychology at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. She has worked as a clinical psychologist and has published widely in women, mental health and depression.

About the Series

Women and Psychology

This series brings together current theory and research on women and psychology. Drawing on scholarship from a number of different areas of psychology, it bridges the gap between abstract research and the reality of women's lives by integrating theory and practice, research and policy.

Each book addresses a 'cutting edge' issue of research, covering topics such as postnatal depression and eating disorders, and addressing a wide range of theories and methodologies.

The series provides accessible and concise accounts of key issues in the study of women and psychology, and clearly demonstrates the centrality of psychology debates within women's studies or feminism.

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