Learned helplessness in humans: critique and reformulation.

  title={Learned helplessness in humans: critique and reformulation.},
  author={Lyn Y. Abramson and M. Seligman and John D. Teasdale},
  journal={Journal of abnormal psychology},
  volume={87 1},
The learned helplessness hypothesis is criticized and reformulated. The old hypothesis, when applied to learned helplessness in humans, has two major problems: (a) It does not distinguish between cases in which outcomes are uncontrollable for all people and cases in which they are uncontrollable only for some people (univervsal vs. personal helplessness), and (b) it does not explain when helplessness is general and when specific, or when chronic and when acute. A reformulation based on a… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

A re-view of cognitive mediators in learned helplessness.

  • H. Tennen
  • Psychology
    Journal of personality
  • 1982
The present article argues that by Alloy's (1982) criteria, an adequate test of the learned helplessness model has not yet been conducted and clarifies the distinction between experimental realism and mundane realism.

A multidimensional test of the attributional reformulation of learned helplessness

In 1978, the original learned helplessness model was critiqued and reformulated by Abramson, Seligman, and Teasdale. Using attributional theory, the reformulation postulated that causal attributions

Inherited Hypohedonia Leads to Learned Helplessness: A Conjecture Updated

The reformulated learned helplessness theory posits depressogenic explanatory style (DES) as a vulnerability factor in depression. Early-life adversity has been suggested as the source of DES, but

Channeling the River: Using Positive Psychology to Prevent Cultural Helplessness, as Applied to African-American Law Students

Helplessness deficits are characterized by an organism’s failure to escape escapable situations after exposure to aversive stimuli. It has recently been learned that helplessness is the mammalian

Repeated failure: a source of helplessness or a factor irrelevant to its emergence?

In two experiments, noncontingent-feedback preexposure produced helplessness deficits in performance on avoidance learning, whereas repeated failure appeared irrelevant to helplessness.

Learned Helplessness in Children: Perception of Control and Causal Attributions

The concept of learned helplessness is reviewed and its applicability to children critically evaluated. The development of helplessness is seen to be a function of the perception of uncontrollability

Learned Helplessness in Public Administration: The Case of San Diego City

Learned helplessness is a psychological and cognitive process and state of mind when an individual remains unresponsive to new stimuli because of past experiences of (perceived) failure, which

Perceived Control and Learned Helplessness Among Mentally Retarded and Nonretarded Children : A Developmental Analysis

Learned helplessness is produced by successive failures and by feedback attributing failure to uncontrollable causes. Retarded children appear to encounter both causal factors frequently and may thus

Perceived Control and Learned Helplessness among Mentally Retarded and Nonretarded Children: A Developmental Analysis.

Learned helplessness is produced by successive failures and by feedback attributing failure to uncontrollable causes. Retarded children appear to encounter both causal factors frequently and may thus



Learned helplessness: Theory and evidence.

The learned helplessness hypothesis is proposed, which argues that when events are uncontrollable the organism learns that its behavior and outcomes are independent, and that this learning produces the motivational, cognitive, and emotional effects of uncontrollabi lity.

The role of expectations and attributions in the alleviation of learned helplessness.

The purpose of the investigation was to determine whether altering attributions for failure would enable learned helpless children to deal more effectively with failure in an experimental

Learned Helplessness, Immunization and Importance of Task in Humans

Prevention of laboratory induced learned helplessness in college students was demonstrated. Three groups of 20 subjects received failure, success, or success followed by failure (immunization) on

Generality of learned helplessness in man.

Learned helplessness, the interference with instrumental responding following inescapable aversive events, has been found in animals and man. This study tested for the generality of the debilitation

Learned helplessness, depression, and the attribution of failure.

Depressed and nondepressed college students received experience with solvable, unsolvable, or no discrimination problems and showed anagram deficits parallel to those found in naturally occurring depression as predicted by the learned helplessness model of depression.

Learned helplessness, depression, and anxiety.

Results for a discrimination learning problem were mixed, and depressed subjects perceptually distort the outcomes of skilled responding as being response-independent, and they may, under certain conditions, show deficits at learning the consequences of responses.

Depression and learned helplessness in man.

The learned helplessness model of depression, which claims that a belief in independence between responding and reinforcement is central to the etiology, symptoms, and cure of reactive depression, is supported.

Learned helplessness, depression and the perception of reinforcement.

Sex differences in learned helplessness: II. The contingencies of evaluative feedback in the classroom and III. An experimental analysis.

Girls show greater evidence than boys of learned helplessness in achievement situations with adult (but not peer) evaluators: They attribute their failures to lack of ability rather than motivation