Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The effects of learned helplessness and its relationship to depression were discussed. It was concluded that if learned helplessness was a valid experimental model for depression it should have detrimental effects on positively reinforced behavior. A number of rats were divided into two yoked groups and these two groups were put on the same food deprivation schedule. The animals were then trained in an aversive situation in a shuttle box. One group received escape training and one group received helplessness training. The yoked pairs received the same mean time of shock exposure. Approximately 24 hours later, both groups were tested on their speed of acquisition of a CRF lever pressing response for food and their resistance to extinction of the response. The helplessness group showed significantly poorer response acquisition (p<^.01). The helplessness group also showed less resistance to extinction although this difference was not significant (p<^.20). It was concluded that the results supported learned helplessness as a valid experimental model for depression.