Michael Young, professor of psychology and chair of the psychology department, recently gave a talk at the 29th annual convention for the Association for Psychological Science in Boston. His talked was entitled, “Integrating Environmental, Biological and Psychological Mechanisms in SAD: The Dual Vulnerability Model.”
Although the majority research on seasonal affective disorder (SAD) has generally focused on biological processes, over two decades of research indicates that psychological depressive processes that are well-documented in unipolar depression also play a role in the development of SAD. These processes include rumination, negative causal attributional style, and loss of reinforcement contingency.
Young discussed how the Dual Vulnerability Model of SAD integrates environmental biological, and psychological processes and addresses issues such as the development of symptoms across the course of an episode and variability in episodes across years. It also suggests possible treatments in addition to light, some of which have been pursued in randomized clinical trials in recent years.