Learned Helplessness

by Christopher Peterson, Steven F. Maier, and Martin E. P. Seligman.
When experience with uncontrollable events gives rise to the expectation that events in the future will also elude control, disruptions in motivation, emotion and learning may ensue. “Learned helplessness” refers to the problems that arise in the wake of this state of mind, and has been applied to a variety of human problems in which inappropriate passivity and demoralization are observed. This volume, written by some of the most widely recognized leaders in the field, summarizes and integrates the theory, research and application of learned helplessness.

“It is refreshing to find psychologists so strongly identified with a large, interesting, and successful area of scientific research who so clearly say their interest has been badly handled by others. These succinct and straightforward sections are a model for what scientists can do to express the limits and qualifications of their research programs. This is a good, interesting, and helpful book. It is a model for cautious and responsible treatment of a highly visible and controversial area. It should be read by all professionals concerned with understanding human behavior as responsive to stress and not being in control.”

—Ralph Underwager, Institute for Psychological Therapies

“The applications of the theory [of learned helplessness] to current issues (including depression, academic achievement, and physical well-being) are exciting, thought-provoking, and highly relevant. ”

—Readings: A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health

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