Once I began researching, I discovered various factors influencing the prevalence and manifestation of depression that were not explored in my essay. While I feel my cognitive theories of depression were strong, I did not use any sociocultural theories or biological theories to support my gender-based differences (E.g. the 5-HTT gene or gene-cultural evolution theory). However, I think the addition of these theories with the given word count would have spread it too broadly, and that deeper analysis to these additional factors would only have been achieved if these factors were written with a greater word count. I feel satisfied with my overall approach, particularly in the research process. I found myself making connections between the different methodological processes, and that these connections allowed for deeper cross-critical analysis and more well rounded explanations. Using psychological theories against biological studies strengthened both the generalizability and applicability of the conclusion formed. While I was able to form a conclusion regarding genders effect on SSRI efficacy, I was unable to truly determine a cause and effect relationship, leaving me with the final question: If a wider extent of sociocultural, biological, and cognitive factors were explored, can a new conclusion be formed?
While initial research over depression from a biological and psychological viewpoint has been fairly straightforward, finding research that explores different factors that affect the manifestation of depression has been extremely difficult. The research is present, however the language used is often very technical and requires more in depth biology knowledge that I currently lack, and the results of the studies are often inconclusive. This doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been successful, however it has been far harder to explore gender based differences than I initially thought. Through this challenge, I have focused more on the use of models and the experimental method in order to investigate the relationship between gender and antidepressant efficacy. I have realized the importance of a flexibility and a multi-faceted approach to researching, especially as I’ve discovered many sources that all may be applicable in some regards, but are not necessarily the best suited to the task at hand.
Today, I’ve spent the majority of my day focusing on the biological aspect of depression and the relationship between neurons and neurotransmitters. I have learnt more about the way that neurotransmitters are transmitted and how this translates to a larger macroscale view. I was able to talk to my Psychology teacher about incorporating psychology into the EE contents, and I learnt of the different types of cognitive theories of depression. Ideally, I will structure my essay with the theory and the biological explanation followed by the case study, before critically analyzing the study both internally and to a general conclusion. I was able to complete and organize most of my research that is necessary for the parts of my EE that help to support the case study. I have also narrowed down several possible case studies that I will have to go through in order to further analyze. I began writing my introduction and initial aspects of my body paragraphs, and I’ve worked over halfway to the first 1000 word requirement, so I think I’ll be able to reach the 1000 words fairly soon.
I’m hoping to complete my biological research soon, so that I can move on to the more complex psychological side. Once both explanations of depression are clarified, it will be far easier to look at antidepressants and pick a case study that can be analyzed.
In MYP Personal Project, I studied the link between environment and the development of several mental illnesses, therefore when I was directed from Biology to World Studies, I took the opportunity to look deeper into the link between the biological and psychological development of depression and how antidepressants treat depression, however, I struggled to direct my thinking into focusing a research question with a smaller lens to study health. I was curious why there were different antidepressants and why some don’t work for different people. My supervisor suggested isolating gender, as gender is a genetic factor that may have a permanent influence on the drugs’ effect. My initial strategy is to understand biologically and psychologically who depression occurs in and why, and what antidepressants affect. I feel this is base knowledge to understanding if and why there are gender differences that can be used to better understand and treat depression across high-risk populations