Learned optimism | Human Services | Webster University


Seligman’s theory of learned helplessness often results in depression and is caused by growing up in a chronically unhealthy or dangerous environment. Growing up in a culture in which one is nearly constantly faced with racism, sexism, poverty, and other social injustices is a risk factor for worse mental health outcomes throughout the lifespan. Fortunately, Seligman also proposed the idea of “learned optimism,” which serves as a theoretical basis for prevention programs that target youth at risk for developing learned helplessness. Based on your learning, what kinds of interventions do you think would be most beneficial for the purposes of helping youth to develop learned optimism in the face of adversity?

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