"Depression (from the Latin word depressio - suppression) is a psychological disorder characterized by low mood (hypothymia), inhibition of intellectual and motor activity, reduction of vital urges, pessimistic assessments of oneself and one's position in surrounding reality, somatoneurological disorders. Depression is characterized by such cognitive properties as a negative, destructive assessment of one's own personality, the external world and the future. There is a great variety and prevalence of depressive states".

Depression is a disorder so common that it is sometimes called the "common cold" among mental illnesses. Every one of us has been depressed at some point. "I'm depressed," perfectly healthy people sometimes say when they feel discouraged about plans important to them that have failed. Despite their sad feelings, people go on with their daily lives. In contrast, sufferers of depressive disorder experience despair and helplessness, which overwhelms them for a long time, does not go away so easily, and usually significantly impairs a person's ability to think and act adequately, which cannot but affect their work and communication with people.


Nowadays, depressive conditions are one of the most important problems in our society. This is caused, first of all, by the increase in depressive illnesses at the present time. This problem is especially topical nowadays in our country due to the unstable economic and political situation, people's uncertainty about the future, as well as the increasing number of stressful situations. Moreover, the identification and treatment of depression in Russia is difficult due to cultural and historical peculiarities. This makes it very important to study more deeply the causes that lead to depressive states in modern society. All this points to the relevance and priority of the chosen direction of research. In our opinion, its results will contribute to more effective studying of depressive conditions, as well as their diagnostics and creation of the optimal system of psychological adaptation to stressful conditions of businessmen's professional activity in the modern society.

Psychological theories of depression

Analysis of the main approaches to the problem of depressive disorders

The definition of depression refers to various spheres, combining heterogeneous phenomena: 1) low mood; 2) mental and speech inhibition; 3) motor retardation. In connection with the fact that some of these signs also have not absolute value (for example, depression can also be expressed in motor agitation and agitation), some researchers conduct a search of the nuclear disorder (O.P. Vertogradova, V.N. Sinitsky 1986, Y.L. Nuller). At the same time, a number of researchers still allocate three levels on which depression is manifested: affective, ideational and motor (Vertogradova O.P. et al.).

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

"Some are based on a causal criterion, traditional in clinics, to distinguish between primary and secondary depression. The division into primary and secondary depression allows clinicians to distinguish the leading or supporting role of the depressive disorder in the syndrome, regardless of discussion of etiology, and avoids discussion of the "endogenous-reactive" or "psychotic-neurotic" relation.

Thus, the "primary-secondary" dichotomy, by establishing causal relationships between different disorders, solves diagnostic problems by establishing the primary

  • By time of manifestation;
  • By degree of expression (volume of symptoms);
  • by therapeutic dynamics (in order of reduction).

Another approach is related to the choice of the etiological criterion for the classification of depressive disorders. Thus, there are depressive disorders with an internal biological cause - endogenous depression, and external (in the broad sense as an exogenous influence) - reactive depression. Factors causing endogenous depression and factors provoking reactive depression belong to two fundamentally different classes of causes. The first include genetic, biochemical material processes occurring in the internal environment of the body, and the second - social, psychological processes that determine the adaptation of an individual.

The division of depressive disorders into psychotic and neurotic depression partially overlaps with the division into endogenous and exogenous depression, being more multivalued. It is primarily influenced by the theoretical work of Freud and other psychoanalysts, and the typology is based on symptom severity criteria. The "psychotic-neurotic" division is the main position of traditional diagnostic classifications, in particular ICD-9, DSM-1 and DSM-P. The concept of "neurotic depression" has no single definition and is used in the literature in the following senses:

  • a non-psychotic form of depression characterized by the absence of delusions, hallucinations, and perceptual disturbances;
  • non-endogenous depression, i.e., caused by psychological reasons, rather than biological factors;
  • situationally conditioned depression;
  • maladaptive personality pattern;
  • "non-autonomous" type of depression.

Later American Psychiatric Association classifications (DSM-I1L, DSM-ffl-R, DSM-IV) deviated from previous nomenclatures by deleting this category, which ceased to exist as a separate heading. However, according to some authors (Molodetskikh V.A. 1997), the elimination of the etiological factor from the classifications caused the loss of the psychological (meaningful) aspect, both in considering the genesis of depression and in choosing adequate interventions.

Another direction in creating typologies of depression is associated with the distinction of a formal feature - the type of the main affect - as a criterion for classification. Thus, Vertogradova O.P. identifies wistful, anxious and apathetic affect as causing specific ideational and motor disorders. The psychological definition of affect does not coincide with the clinical definition, leaving apathy outside the circle of emotional phenomena, rather as a negative disorder of the emotional sphere and lack of affect.

Clusters of obligatory and facultative depressive symptoms were empirically identified. This approach forms the basis of practice guidelines (DSM) and recognizes the equality of all theoretical orientations, integrating biological, psychoanalytic, behavioral theories and research in addressing the treatment and study of mental disorders.

Summarizing the various qualifications of depression as a disorder defined primarily by negative-spectrum emotional experiences (hypotymic affect), we review the views of the authors of the main depression models on the etiology of these experiences. It should be noted that in the literature, even the term "depression" itself is used in different meanings. Thus, depression is understood to be a clinical syndrome (O.P. Vertogradova et al. 1980), a nosological unit (Y.L. Nuller, T.Y. Khvilivitsky), a type of emotional reaction.

"A study of psychoanalytic concepts of depression has shown that the study of depression begins with Z. Freud's classic work "Sadness and Melancholy" (1917). He associates the occurrence of depression with the loss of a beloved object, but unlike the "work of sadness", where the principle of reality is preserved, melancholy is caused by "unconscious loss" associated with the narcissistic nature of attachment and introjection of the properties of the object of love. According to Freud, outwardly directed hostility (aggression) in the form of energy deprivation and self-accusations, in depression is directed at the lost object that has become part of the Ego as a result of identification. Psychoanalysts suggest that the predisposition to suffering is formed during the oral stage of infant development, the period of maximum helplessness and dependence. The loss of the object of the libido (real or imagined) leads to regression, in which the Ego goes into a state of dominant infantile trauma. The emergence of depression is related not to the real, but to the "inner object", whose prototype is the mother or even the mother's breast, satisfying the infant's vital needs. The traumatic experiences of weaning form an unstable self-esteem, as a result of which the patient fails to achieve self-confidence in adulthood and returns to his ambivalent dependence on the breast. M.Klein (1948) sees the origin of depression precisely in the awareness of this ambivalence. Klein's introduction of the "depressive stance" describes the stage each child (or patient in analysis) goes through in becoming aware that their love and hate are directed towards the same object, the mother. It is the fixation on the depressive position, according to Klein, that causes the depressive disorder. Winnicott (1958) saw as a common genetic ground of depressive and obsessive disorders the inability to successfully go through the depressive stance stage. According to his concept, depression is a regression to the time when the child made his first progress with the help of his mother, and obsessive disorder to the image of a nurturing, restraining and punishing mother (Winnicott 1958). Fairbairn (1952) also follows the ontogenetic position, deducing the etiology of depression (as well as schizophrenia) from the disorders of the development of the child being in the stage of full dependence on the mother and her nursing breast".

The common principled position of psychoanalysts is to recognize all depression as an exogenous disorder arising in response to a psychotraumatic event. Although depression can be viewed as an autonomous entity, i.e., arising once as a result of a frustrating event and persisting throughout life, it is etiologically defined as reactive.

Behaviorist theories of depression, like psychoanalytic theories, are etiological, but unlike psychoanalysis, which focuses on intrapsychic phenomena, behaviorist approaches focus on behavior, and reasoning is based on strictly verified phenomena.

"The central construct by 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 unavoidable electric shocks, has been proposed as an analog for reactive depression in humans. It has been suggested that repeated exposure to unavoidable pain or threat leads to fear, suffering, and depression. Depressive affect is presented as the anticipation of a traumatic event and the consequence of negative learning. Other behaviorists, using the terms of operant learning theory, suggest that depressed individuals have lost certain adaptive behaviors as a result of a lack of reinforcement, and have increased "escape" and "avoidance" behavior. The behaviorist approach fails to understand the personality as a whole and the constants that characterize a given individual."


The cognitive theory of depression (A. Beck 1967,1976, A. Bandura 1977,1983) is based on the assertion that one's view of oneself, the world and one's future is the main determinant of depression. Beck claims that cognition is a primary determinant of emotions, mood and behavior. A negative view of the self causes a depressed person to view himself as "inadequate" and "not worthy" and to attribute his own misfortunes to his defects. A negative view of the future makes him see an endless series of torments ahead. Beck explains most of the typical depressive symptoms, such as willpower paralysis, suicide attempts and self-depreciation, as the result of specific cognitive determinants.

"According to Beck, depressive symptoms are a consequence of a kind of false "unconscious inferences" and all manifestations of the depressive syndrome are a consequence of the activation of negative cognitive patterns. Behavioral symptoms observed in depression are a reflection of impairment of the motivational sphere: paralysis of will, avoidant behavior, etc.". When depressed, the person sees himself as weak and helpless, seeks help from others and gradually becomes more and more dependent on others. Beck explains physical symptoms as general psychomotor lethargy arising from the refusal of activity as a result of full confidence in the futility of any endeavor.

Beck's works provide a comprehensive analysis of the symptomatology and phenomenology of depression. He classifies the characteristics of depression into 5 main groups: emotional, cognitive, motivational, autonomic and physical. Emotional manifestations are expressed by frequently observed despondency or depressed mood. Cognitive manifestations are represented by the depressed person's tendency to view himself or herself as inferior in terms of what is most important to him or her. Motivational manifestations are represented by passivity, dependence, avoidance and willpower paralysis, vegetative and physical - loss of appetite and sleep disorders.

A. Beck singles out the following cognitive patterns that produce depressive states: the cognitive triad, cognitive schemes and cognitive errors. The functioning of these patterns contributes to the depressed subject's sense of helplessness and dependence on the environment. Due to certain distortions of thought processes, rules are constructed on the basis of incorrect inferences such as "not being successful means being completely unsuccessful."

The cognitive approach introduces a number of important concepts that allow us to extrapolate them to the domain of normal mental functioning of the self-conscious, and is one of the most psychologically elaborated models of depression. However, some authors consider the reduction of the depressive symptom complex to a cognitive causative and believe that cognitive impairment is a consequence, rather than a cause, of depressive states.

Cases of sudden-onset depressions of the circular depression type and phase-shifting illness in manic-depressive psychosis also fail to find an explanation within the framework of the cognitive theory.

"Some authors, without engaging in the creation of general theories of depression, attempt to isolate the facts to which they attribute crucial importance in the occurrence of this disorder. They, developing the ideas of egopsychology, point to the possibility of depression resulting from the loss of the purpose of existence; as well as the disturbance of social ties and the loss of social identity."

Suicidal ideas - thoughts about deliberate deprivation of life due to suppression of the instinct of self-preservation - often arise in a depressive condition.

Suicidal thoughts can have different degrees of formability, persistence and intensity depending on the nature of depression, its depth and course, and also features of the situation. At the height of the development of depression, impulsive suicide attempts are possible, however, most often suicidal tendencies appear in relatively shallow depression without ideational and motor inhibition, with significant intensity of experiences of worthlessness, ideas of self-blame, depressive depersonalization. Quite often their development is accompanied by an unfortunate situation, loss of psychotherapeutic contact with the doctor or close people.

Motives that drive suicidal behavior are intolerable mental pain, ideas of inferiority and self-abasement, self-punishment, self-blaming, hypochondriacal ideas, existential dead-end (hopelessness, hopelessness), incurable diseases, loss of an ecological niche, situational moments that were not pathogenic before (family, work, interpersonal), etc.

Forms of depressive disorders

In some people, periods of depressed mood alternate with states of extreme joy and inadequate behavior, known as mania. This form of depressive disorder is called manic depression, bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive psychosis. This illness makes a person overactive, overconfident, and irritable.

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

"Bipolar depression, like major depression, can also be dangerous. During the depressive phase the suicidal thoughts overtake the patient, during the manic phase the sobriety of the mind and rational faculties vanish like smoke and he is unable to foresee the severe consequences of his actions".

Less common are milder forms of depression such as dysthymia (dysthymic disorder or depressive neurosis) and minor depression (minor depressive disorder). Postpartum depression is a depressive disorder that develops in women who give birth within one to six months of giving birth. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a recurrent disorder that affects up to 10% of women who retain their menses. Women with this disorder feel very depressed and extremely irritable on a monthly basis for one to two weeks before their menstrual bleeding comes. Seasonal affective disorder occurs only at certain times of the year. People suffering from this disorder feel drowsy and depressed during the winter or fall months, whereas they feel normal during the summer.

In all its "outfits," depression is a condition that disfigures a person's view of himself, others, and the world around him.

To one degree or another, any one of us is at risk of becoming depressed. Depression can affect everyone: rich and poor, young and old, married and married, and unmarried alike. Tense and stressful events occur in everyone's life that can serve as triggers for a depressive disorder, especially if they are severe events and if they follow one after another.

The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is more often made when women seek help than men. The view on this issue is that women are simply more likely to seek help, they are more willing to admit to being possessed by depressive experiences such as feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness. Men, instead of seeking psychological help, tend to dull the symptoms of depression with alcohol or other psychoactive substances. Depression can take place implicitly - in the form of the 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 rarely seek psychological help.

Depressive disorder comes in many forms. "Depressive states differ in their depth, that is, in the degree of severity. If, against the background of individual symptoms of depressed mood, you find the strength to force yourself to engage in daily activities, it is a mild degree of depression. If several depressive symptoms occur, and despite trying, you are still unable to do the things that need to be done, it is a moderate degree depression. And severe depression, when almost all symptoms of the disorder are present and the person finds it extremely difficult to cope with normal everyday tasks in everyday life.

Monopolar depression (major or clinical depression) is the most common form of depressive disorder. The word monopolar refers to the presence of one extreme position - "pole" - in the range of emotions, which is characterized accordingly by only one - wistful, depressed - mood. As a rule, this is an unremitting feeling of sadness or complete joylessness, insomnia, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, decreased appetite, pain in different places, a severe feeling of deep mental pain - longing - is noted. In this condition, the person considers himself or herself worthless, incapable of anything, and his or her situation hopeless. Self-esteem drops.

"There are different points of view on the emergence of depression; according to medics, the beginning of the disease is associated with a violation of the processes of biochemical activity of the brain. The propensity for this disorder is hereditary in some people. Others depression can be associated with abnormalities in the content of hormones in the body. Among the causes could be various stresses, the death of loved ones, childbirth, a state of helplessness and hormonal influences.

Four main groups of symptoms can be distinguished in the picture of depression: mood disorders (a person falls into a state of sadness, depression, there are thoughts of self-blame), changes in behavior, such as withdrawal from communication with other people, difficulty thinking or cognitive disorders (distracted, difficult to concentrate), physical manifestations, such as sleep disorders, weight loss, headaches. Symptoms of depression can manifest differently depending on age and lifestyle. It is difficult for the person himself to give a correct assessment of his condition, since depressive disorder affects a person's thinking, mental attitude, and there is a waviness in mood swings.

The two main signs of depression are a persistent feeling of depression and loss of interest in the pleasures of life up to extreme indifference to everything and everyone. The oppressive feeling of depression, desolation, utter hopelessness and worthlessness of his own life - this is not just sadness, but excruciating mental pain. When depressed, many withdraw into themselves and shut off from others, all this contributes to a lower sociability, In a state of depression can decrease sex drive, there are difficulties in achieving an erection and orgasm.

When depressed, the physical picture changes: the person's motor skills usually slows down sharply, the shoulders are drooping, the gait is slow, slow and speech, it is poor in words, this condition is called psychomotor retardation. The opposite happens also, changes in the motor sphere are evidenced only when it looks unusual in the eyes of others, accelerated movements are called psychomotor agitation.

Depression greatly affects a person's thoughts and feelings. When depressed, thoughts are directed only at the negative aspects of life. There are also difficulties in thinking, thoughts are confused, they flow slowly, it is difficult to focus on a particular issue, absent-mindedness, forgetfulness.

In this condition, thoughts and feelings are distorted and do not reflect the real state of affairs, the person feels anxious, is dominated by fears, suffers from low self-esteem, suffers from feelings of worthlessness and guilt. Depressive feelings of dissatisfaction with oneself may be exacerbated by various morbid manifestations, recurrent suicidal thoughts without a specific plan, suicide attempts, or a specific plan to commit suicide.

Major depression has several less common forms, so-called subtypes. "These are psychotic depression (in addition to symptoms of depression itself, delirium and hallucinations develop, suicidal threat increases dramatically, need to be hospitalized immediately), atypical depression (there is a mixed pattern 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-term form of depressive disorder characterized by an unremitting sense of joylessness. In a state of dysthymia, the person is gloomy - always or almost always. Anxiety and guilt dominate in thoughts, the person is in himself, inhibited, any events and circumstances of life are perceived only as failures, condemning himself and others. The course of dysthymia is long, for years. The gloomy mood inherent in dysthymia leads to tensions in the family, in matrimonial 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 physicians believe that the best treatment regimen is still a combination of psychotherapy and medication - antidepressants.

Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that occurs strictly at certain times of the year. Most people suffering from this disorder feel depressed and lethargic in the winter, while in the summer their mood is normal and even joyful. As a rule, depression begins 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 loss of energy, fatigue, a need for more sleep, increased appetite, inability to concentrate on work and do anything around the house after work, moods are dominated by depression, anxiety, avoidance of communication, increased irritability, With the arrival of spring, depression disappears. There comes a rush of energy, it seems to the person that his or her "life has returned to him or her. The reasons for seasonal affective disorder are still unclear. They point in particular to lower levels of the hormone serotonin, to fluctuations in the content of the hormone melatonin, to a violation of the body's circadian biorhythms, some people are predisposed 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 transitions between extreme positions or poles: between a sad mood (depression) and a joyful mood (mania). In the middle, intermediate position, the mood is normal. During the depressive phase of the disorder, the same symptoms as in major depression appear; as the mood changes, a state of mild mania (hypomania) may occur, which is characterized by heightened activity, heightened activity, emotional vivacity and self-confidence. In the phase of mania, however, the mood is abnormally elevated and excessive sociability, irritability and anger are pronounced. Such mood swings usually have little or nothing to do with everyday events, so the manifestation of the illness can significantly disrupt the normal course of life and the performance of daily tasks.

Bipolar depression attacks can come and go in different ways. Depending on the phase of the attack, the person experiences different painful experiences. The depressive phase is characterized by the symptoms described above. A feeling of despair and worthlessness suffers, and it is difficult to concentrate. The opposite phase of the disorder, mania, on the contrary, is characterized by good well-being, strengthening of mental abilities, an abnormally elevated mood and an unprecedented burst of energy. As mania increases, excitement becomes increasingly unrestrained, and actions become unpredictable. A feeling of extreme joy is replaced by anger, any failure is simply unbearable, attacks of anger when someone tries to restrain and siege excessive demands on others. The hallmark of mania is a lack of critical attitude toward one's condition. "An unusually joyful mood can be considered a sign of mania if it is accompanied by at least three other symptoms, and an unusually angry mood if it is accompanied by at least four more of the following symptoms:

  1. a clearly inflated self-esteem or sense of grandeur;
  2. sharply reduced need for sleep;
  3. unusual obsession with talking to others or talkativeness in general;
  4. rapid and inconsistent transition from one thought to another;
  5. a tendency to be easily distracted by small and irrelevant details;
  6. quickness of movements and obviously heightened activity in all spheres of life: at work, in school, in communication with people, in sexual life;
  7. excessive enthusiasm for activities promising serious complications in the future."

Mania is diagnosed only when these symptoms are so pronounced that they interfere with normal work, be in public places, disturb human relationships, in this state people believe that they can do everything, everything is allowed.

The unrestrained self-confidence of the manic patient may develop into delusions of grandeur, when the person believes they are in touch with supernatural beings, this makes their behavior extremely dangerous; in a highly pronounced state of mania, patients hear voices in the absence of speakers - these are auditory hallucinations. Thinking in mania is accelerated, motor excitement is characteristic, and sexual activity is heightened - hypersexuality combined with thoughtless disregard for any danger can lead to promiscuous sexual intercourse.

Bipolar disorder also occurs in some of its rarer forms, which include: accelerated circular disorder (mood disorders frequently change direction, making transitions back and forth between depression, mania, and hypomania more than 4 times a year), dysphoric mania (moody), mixed states, and cyclothymia (a milder, not dramatically pronounced form of the disorder).

Factors influencing the onset of depressive states

Let's list the main psychogenic traumatic factors influencing the occurrence of depressive states.

1. Situations of short duration, but sharply affecting the personality due to the individual significance of the traumatic influences:

  • situation of loss is a quarrel with a loved one that disrupts valuable friendships, a sudden disappointment in a respected and dear person, the loss of a loved one due to separation or his death, an unexpected property collapse;
  • situations suddenly violating the basic direction of the person: a breach of plans, intentions, hopes, career collapse, an acute crisis of the world view, a sudden loss of the means to achieve a cherished goal (for example, the voice of a singer), suddenly discovered the serious errors of his life path, which led to repentance, a sharp change in lifestyle (change of profession, a situation of boycott, arrest);
  • suddenly traumatic influences, which affect especially vulnerable sides of the personality.

The person can choose the following possible interpretations:

  • the statement of some physical defect in oneself, assessed as an ugliness that demeans the person in the eyes of others and therefore carefully concealed;
  • declaration of some character defect, which is a constant source of dissatisfaction with oneself (heightened shyness, timidity, clumsiness, leading to a constant fear of becoming ridiculous in the eyes of others, insecurity about the possibility of public speaking, etc.);
  • presence of readiness to react in a heightened way to a particular situation due to having experienced a similar situation very severely in the past (fear of bathing after experiencing the danger of drowning, fear of any trip after experiencing a crash, reactive disability after an office accident, obsessive fear of falling ill with a disease after a patient became very agitated after learning about a serious illness of a friend, the appearance of internal anxiety about having been "discovered" by others carefully with.

2. Situations of strong lasting traumatic influences:

  • conflicts of social relations can manifest themselves as contradictions of public and personal interests, hence the clash of personality with society as a whole, with the production team, the clash of interests of co-workers on the type of conflicts of subordination, competition, conflict of relations to property;
  • conflicts of family relations are most often characterized by a clash of different attitudes, interests of family members, forced to be in constant contact (the conflict of older and younger generations, the interests of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, mother-in-law and young spouses, quarrels brothers, sisters, conflictual relationships with neighbors);
  • conflicts of sexual relationships. In the presence of mutual feeling, however, there may be a sharp difference in the structure of feelings of love due to the presence of different weight of the spouses personal (which determines the attitude of the person to the loved one as a person with his personal characteristics) and sensual (attitude to the loved one as an object of passion) components of love, which leads to a constant experience of inconsistency, more and more cumulative disappointment. Very conflicting are the experiences of loss of trust in the beloved, followed by shades of jealousy. In the sexual area, the occurrence of a conflict between moral attitudes and low drives is common, and there is usually surrender to temptation followed by attempts to order a complex relationship. A peculiar difficulty is experienced by the individual in the motivated suppression of feelings of love due to social and moral demands. Finally, it is necessary to point out the complicated experiences of unrequited love.

3. Situations with weak but lasting traumatic influences.

a. Situations of prolonged mental tension:

  • A disconnected pace of work and life, requiring constant switching in totally unexpected directions;
  • Situations of the necessity to constantly restrain oneself are most frequent in conditions of the developed unfriendly family or official relations, when the moment of inclusion in a situation is experienced with expectation of the next trouble.

b. A situation of heightened responsibility.

c. A situation which causes a constant feeling of annoyance, "dissatisfaction with oneself", a boring, uninteresting one-type job, constantly annoying small household details, tedious annoying, but not eliminated, degenerate annoying components of sexual life.

d. Situations of unsatisfied aspirations: forced stay at work, inadequate opportunities of the person and in no way satisfying his or her main interests, cases of impossibility to get a favorite job, which constitutes a true vocation.

"Consider the psychosocial stresses that precede the development of psychogenic depression.

1. Soft psychosocial stresses:

  • quarrels with close and meaningful people;
  • change of work;
  • change of profession, parting with relatives.

2. Medium psychosocial stresses:

  • dismissal;
  • difficulties in the upbringing of the child;
  • a child running away from home.

3. Severe psychosocial stresses:

  • acute mental disorders in a spouse;
  • death of a spouse (actual relative);
  • marital infidelity (adultery);
  • extramarital breakups of intimate relationships;
  • victim of a robbery;
  • victim of sexual assault;
  • victim of aggressive violence;
  • road accident;
  • forensic situation.

4. Catastrophic psychosocial stresses:

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

Subjective psychosemantics of depressive states of businessmen

The empirical base of the research was formed by 30 respondents aged 30-56. The research was conducted on the basis of the Psychology Department of NIIPKRO. It was studied 30 successful businessmen: owners of large companies and banks, the study included research procedures with a set of selected techniques, the analysis of 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) by the increasing influence of stressful situations, often difficult negotiations, the possibility of frequent conflicts, increasing anxiety due to the fear of losing capital, possible failures and failures of major transactions, which leads to depressive tendencies, and further in some cases can lead to depression. Consequently, there is a need for a deeper study and analysis of the personality of the businessman, which would create a set of techniques to ensure the identification of the propensity to engage in business, which would insure ah from disappointments in the professional sphere and prevent depressive states caused by the consequence of dissatisfaction with their own self-realization in the professional sphere.

As a result of the conducted research the complex of semantic and projective methods allowed to reveal the reasons leading to depressive conditions through the evaluation of the concepts "myself" (which fulfilled the control function), "business", "work", "personal life". personal life" on a semantic and emotional level. The semantic differential method was an instrument for studying psychological features and attitudes of respondents toward business and private life on the semantic level where the tactile and emotional scales proved to be the most informative. The modification technique of describing semantic-perceptual universals revealed the structure of subjective experience and the system of relations to oneself, business, and personal life; it also helped to better understand and understand the respondents' inner attitudes and aspirations.

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

  1. often feel depressed, inferior and unnecessary: 50% of men and 10% of women;
  2. experience insomnia, often low moods without 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. are satisfied with their own work and their own self-realization: 60% of men and 80% of women;

To the question "why do you do business" the following answers were received:

  • 60% - men answered "that they do business for the sake of earning money to support their families". 30% of men answered "that they do business to have a lot of money and to please women because now nobody needs them without money and only 10% of men answered "that they do business because it is interesting and satisfying for them".
  • 80% of women answered - "for their own self-realization as they have everything in this life and they wanted to achieve something more". 20% of women responded - "they do business to earn extra money, to be independent".

To the question "would you go into business that is not interesting to you, but brings a lot of income? ":

  • 60% answered in the affirmative;
  • 30% said "in addition to income, work, business should be interesting, otherwise nothing will work out;
  • 10% said "that they are already rich enough to do something that does not interest them.

When asked "Are you satisfied with your personal life?" - the majority of 60% of respondents in the male group answered negatively. Among the main reasons for this are the lack of time to deal with family and personal life in general. And 60% of women responded that they were quite satisfied with their personal life.

Research on the "Depression Scale" shows the following results:

  • Mild depression is found in all respondents - businessmen: businessmen environment in three respondents - men, in two respondents - women, there is no depressive state. The average level of depression by groups: men - 41.2, women - 38.9. At the average age by groups 42 years.

The most negative answers were given by respondents in general in groups to the statements "I feel I live a rather full life" and "I am more irritable than usual" - especially in the sample of men.

The Pearson correlation coefficient was used to establish a correlation between the level of depression and age in the groups of respondents (the total value of the correlation coefficient was calculated for all four groups), k = 0.97, which shows a clear dependence of the level of depression on the age of the subjects.

The semantic differential method was used to obtain the average profiles in the samples of respondents for the evaluation of the following concepts "myself", "business" ("aircraft testing" for pilots) and "personal life". The attitude of examinees to these concepts at the semantic level was analyzed and sex differences in attitudes to these concepts were revealed. The identification of the concept "Myself" with the concepts "Personal Life" and "Business" was considered. Portraits of each concept in the groups of respondents were constructed. And the interpretation of the obtained data with the help of factor correlation and cluster analysis was carried out. From the factor and correlation analysis it is possible to identify the leading factor in the evaluation of each concept.

Thus, the following can be noted: in the group of businessmen the leading factor in the evaluation of the proposed concepts, was the factor "evaluations". This was especially vivid when it came to evaluating the concept of "business", the evaluation factor being the leading one in the groups of respondents. For male businessmen the leading factor in evaluation of the concept "Myself" was the factor "strength" as opposed to women who evaluated it with the factor "activity". When assessing the concept "Work" the main factor in assessing it for the group of men is the factor "activity". When characterizing the concept "private life", two groups of men and women were also identified, with the "emotionality" factor and the "evaluation" factor being the main ones.

According to the results of semantic differential method concerning the concepts "Business", "Work", "Myself", "Private Life", the following regularities were revealed:

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

Most businessmen identify themselves with the concept "Business", it was especially pronounced in the sample of men (almost 100% of businessmen), and almost half of male businessmen have a negative attitude to their personal life, the semantic method reveals a great dissatisfaction of men in personal life (dissatisfaction with their self-realization in personal life). Women, along with positive attitudes and identification of themselves with their personal life, quite positively embed the concept of "business" in their subjective picture of the world as well, which characterizes more harmonious self-actualization in both spheres. There is more identification with "personal life," with a fairly positive assessment of the concept of "business.

Most businessmen identify the concepts "Work" and "business". This profile shows that both men and women identify these concepts with 100% accuracy, which is 28% of all respondents. Although almost half of the respondents in the female group give a more positivistic assessment of the concept of "work", apparently considering work to be a wider field of activity for self-realization than business. In connection with these results, there is a clear discrepancy between the activity that they actually do - as a job - and its evaluation at the semantic level. There is a lack of choice of "extreme" evaluations in the definition of concepts and the frequent use of 0 in the evaluation of the scale.

Methodology of perceptual universals

Modification technique of the description of semantic-perceptual universals revealed the structure of subjective experience and systems; relations to the self, business and personal life at respondents of different: sex-age groups.

The following was revealed in this sample: the given technique demonstrated different positions of the notions "business", "private life", and "myself" in the structure of subjective experience.

No particularly significant patterns were found in the choice of figures associated with self and business and personal life. But there is a more significant tendency for groups to associate the concept of "myself" with "business" than with "personal life. Women, on the contrary, show a more pronounced identification of themselves with their personal lives, which was especially pronounced in the group of women. In some cases there is a clear contradiction between the two concepts, such as the respondent (#3 male businessmen group) who associates "myself" as figure #8-"golden sun" and "business" as figure #1 a black spider, which clearly shows the incompatibility in the structure of personal subjective experience of these two concepts.

On the whole by groups of businessmen in most cases the concept of business is associated with figure #3 (which is mainly described by such definitions as: airplane, flying machine, aspiration. Basically all definitions show the dynamics of development of this concept, dynamism, aspiration), which quite coincides with the definition of business.

No special dependence of the choice of figure, characterizing the concept of "myself" was revealed, but the following tendencies appeared:

  • Businessmen are more inclined to estimate themselves as a figure aspiring to the rounded forms, avoiding sharp angles - the most frequent choice of figure No. 8 describing it as a sun circle, snowball, which shows a certain indecision degree, inclination to merge with the group, softness of character, more sensibility. For two respondents, this figure is associated with a black hole - these are the individuals who have the highest score on the depression scale, as a clear negativity of the self, self-understanding, and self-satisfaction are outlined.

In the course of this technique, some differences in the structure of respondents' subjective experience of different gender and age professional and socio-cultural groups were revealed, which was manifested in the appearance of different associations in the description of the figures offered. Where the following tendencies were revealed.

In the group of businessmen there is quite frequent mentioning of animate images, images of animals, more frequent use of adjectives, especially frequent use of associative alphabet in describing the images.

In general, according to the results of this technique, in the 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-evaluated features of the given images, sometimes not emotionally-evaluated at all, i.e. the form of the image and the features of the outline were described less often, which directly relates to the image itself. Much more often the attitude towards the image was described, its emotional evaluation was given, which was most vividly revealed in the group of businesswomen.

Semantic-perceptual universals are formed in the process of the accumulation of subjective experience, with the conditions of life and activity of the individual. Therefore, we should add to their characteristics the fact that they are similar in certain groups of subjects and vary depending on which ethnic and professional group each person belongs to. Since perception depends on the structure of subjective experience, individual vision of the world, it should primarily depend on the professional orientation of the person. This was revealed in the course of this empirical study.

SAMOAL methodology

The results of this technique were analyzed in comparison with those conducted earlier. A direct correlation in most cases of the influence of the level of self-actualization on the level of depression was revealed. For example, respondent № 11 (group of men businessmen) the lowest level of aspiration for self-actualization of k=21%, coincides with the negative estimates of the concept of "myself" on the methods of the semantic differential and the color-associative experiment, as well as a rather high level of depression on the methodology "Depression Scale". Also the highest level of aspiration for self-actualization on groups is marked in group of women businessmen of k=85 %, both according to the data of the clinical interview, and by results of other techniques the given respondent estimates itself as successful enough, with good self-esteem, having satisfaction in work, private life and dialogue with associates. Analysis of the results for all groups of respondents confirms a direct correlation between the high level of the coefficient of striving for self-actualization and the most positive results for other conducted techniques.

From the analysis of values ranking, it is possible to characterize, in general, the group of businessmen, both men and women, as people in general with average aspiration to self-actualization, though sharing values of a self-actualizing personality, to which A. Maslow included such values as truth, good, beauty, integrity, perfection, justice, etc. Preference for these values indicates a desire for a harmonious being and health in relationships with people, with high communicative abilities, capable of establishing strong and benevolent relationships with others; seeking to live their lives in the present without putting off 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 focused on the opinion of others - D. Riesman called "Outwardly-oriented" as opposed to "internally-oriented"; inclined to merge with the group without a strong self-expression especially in the group of men.


Overall, the following conclusions can be drawn from the results of the experimental study of subjective psychosemantics in businessmen.

Despite external well-being, among successful businessmen, there are depressive states. In spite of the fact that the experiment was conducted on norm, nevertheless, a number of persons was found whose "Depression level" according to the results of the "Depression Scale" exceeds the norm. This shows the presence of a mild form of depression in some individuals engaged in "successful" business. It turned out that many businessmen are characterized by a rather expressed level of internal discomfort which in some individuals is expressed in a more pronounced form (which was also confirmed with the help of semantic and projective methods). A significant correlation between the level of depression and the age of the subjects was established with the help of correlation analysis. Male businessmen were found to have more pronounced tendencies to depressive disorders (primarily, it is associated with dissatisfaction with their own self-realization in personal life and insufficient self-satisfaction in work).

The hypothesis of the study was confirmed that the premise of depressive tendencies in businessmen is the lack of self-identification with the concepts of "personal life" and "business" and, consequently, dissatisfaction with their own self-realization in their career (in particular business) and personal life. According to the data obtained in this study, it was found that the highest level of depressive tendencies is found in individuals who have clear contradictions in self-identification with personal life and business. In general, the notion of lack of self-actualization in the professional sphere and personal life (most revealed in the group of male businessmen, especially in those who cannot find compensation for "unsuccessful" personal life in work) leads to the emergence of depressive states.

The results of the study of subjective psychosemantics revealed differences in the relationship "Personal life" "business" and "work" in different professional and age groups, as the formation of attitudes towards them are determined by different social experience.

The following tendencies were revealed: the majority of businessmen of all groups identify themselves with the concept of "Business", it is especially pronounced in the group of men, and almost half of the male businessmen have a negative attitude towards their personal life. Women, on the other hand, along with positive attitudes and identification of themselves with their personal life, quite positively integrate the concept of "business" into their subjective picture of the world, which characterizes a more harmonious self-actualization in both spheres.

The hypothesis that persons who do not identify the concept of "work" and "business" are more prone to the greatest depressive tendencies was confirmed, since the discrepancy in the definition of these concepts reveals hidden mechanisms of dissatisfaction with their own activities, and, consequently, dissatisfaction with self-actualization 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 by far the leading work) and the concept of "Work". Only 50% identification of these concepts in the group of businessmen showed up. Although almost half of the respondents in the Russian women's group gave a more positivistic 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 clear discrepancy between the activity that they actually do, as a job, and its evaluation at the semantic level, and then at the deep emotional level, is revealed in the group of respondents.

The following tendencies were determined: In general all groups of respondents have rather high self-acceptance.

Male businessmen (M = 25), on the contrary, according to the results of all the techniques, have avoidance of excessive activity, avoidance of conflicts, expressed sensitivity, much higher anxiety, aversion of their personal life, lack of self-confidence. And during the clinical interview, most expressed that they are engaged in business not for their own fulfillment, but to please someone else, to get money for someone else, etc. However, the tendency to neurotic reactions most often does not occur in their real life because of rather high compensation, for the most part of respondents in this group of men. Although in the group of women-businessmen this is manifested to a somewhat lesser degree, they tend to be more accepting of their personal life and more active in their life position in general, which, according to specialists, is more conducive to business activity.

A different approach was revealed in the structure of subjective experience of different groups of respondents. The sample of businessmen using the SAMOAL methodology revealed a greater desire for self-actualization in the group of women. On the average on groups the factor of aspiration to self-actualization makes 46,5 % at men, and is a little higher 54,5 % at women that confirms more positively results at group of women received on other techniques. Similarly, a close correlation between the coefficients of the level of depression and the desire for self-actualization is traced, which also confirms the hypothesis of the influence of dissatisfaction with self-actualization on the development of depressive states.

This fact emphasizes the importance of developing new, more perfect psychological approaches, psychodiagnostic and psychocorrective measures in relation to depressed patients. This is especially related to the recent increase in the number of depressive states. In this connection, it's rather effective to use a complex of psychosemantic and projective methods to study causes provoking intrapersonal conflicts and, thus, generating depressive states. The subject's attitude towards the world he comes into contact with is partial, so he actively structures this world in his mind, creating its 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 investigate in detail the numerous and always different manifestations of personality, which are conditioned by its structure. To reveal this structure, which is always extremely complex and has multiple qualitative manifestations.

By: Dr. Seniha Inan

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