Date of this Version

1-1-2010

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Published Version.

Sharpley, C.F. & Bitsika, V. (2010). Is depression 'evolutionary' or just 'adaptive'? A comment. Depression research and treatment, 2010, 1-7.

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2010 HERDC submission. FoR Code: 170100

© Copyright C.F. Sharpley & V. Bitsika, 2010. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Some recent explanations of depression have suggested that it may be “evolutionary” in that there are advantages to the depressed individual which arise from some aspects of depressive symptomatology. While the depressive behaviour of withdrawal from the adverse environment may provide some immediate benefits to the depressed individual, thus making it potentially “adaptive” in the short-term, this does not fit the biological definition of “evolutionary”. In fact, depression does not meet two of the three required criteria from natural selection in order to be evolutionary. Therefore, while some depressive behaviour may be advantageous for the depressed individual, and is therefore “adaptive” in an immediate sense, it cannot be accurately described as “evolutionary”. Implications for research and clinical practice are discussed.

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