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Social Cognitive Theory Essay

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Theoretical perspectives in the study of human behavior can easily be applied to cases in social work practice. The mental health field in particular lends itself to the application of different human behavior theories. Specifically, depression can be viewed through the lens of Social Cognitive Theory, or Social Cognitive Learning. There is one case of a woman with depression, whose name will be changed, that social cognitive theory can be applied to. Cheryl is a 58 year old woman who has been diagnosed with Major depressive disorder. She has had this diagnosis since she was 17 years old. Many of her symptoms and experiences can be viewed or explained in terms of social cognitive theory.
Social cognitive theory is different from social learning theory because it takes into account cognitive processes including thinking, memory, language, and evaluating consequences. According to social cognitive theory, individuals play a part in their development (Malone, 2002). Cognitive patterns play a very large role in depression (Furman & Bender, 2003). For example, people don’t have a motivation to move forward in difficult times if they don’t believe they are able to do so. Self- efficacy is an important part of personal agency, and a main aspect in social cognitive theory (Bandura, 2001). A person’s perceived abilities and confidence play a part in what he or she does in his or her life. Cognition becomes a motivator or a hindrance, according to social cognitive theory. A person’s perceived self- efficacy helps determine what a person chooses to do, the amount of effort they put into it, and how long they can persist if there are barriers or failures that occur. How a person sees failure is also influential (Bandura, 20...


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...Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1-26.
Furman, R., & Bender, K. (2003). The social problem of depression: a multi-theoretical a analysis. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, XXX(3), 123-137.
Jahoda, A., Dagnan, D., Jarvie, P., & Kerr, W. (2006). Depression, social context and cognitive behavioural therapy for people who have intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 19, 81-89.
Malone, Y. (2002). Social cognitive theory and choice theory: A compatibility analysis. International Journal of Reality Therapy, XXII(1), 10-13.
Robbins, S., Chatterjee, P., & Canda, E. (2006). Behaviorism, Social Learning, and Exchange Theory. Contemporary Human Behavior Theory (pp. 349-384). Boston: Pearson Education. (Original work published 1998)










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