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learned helplessness

noun
1.
the act of giving up trying as a result of consistent failure to be rewarded in life, thought to be a cause of depression
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Contemporary definitions for learned helplessness
noun

a mental condition in which one becomes unable to help oneself due to previous failed attempts at controlling one's life; also, a condition in which a person establishes and maintains contact with another by adopting a helpless, powerless stance

Examples

Learned helplessness is conditioned behavior in which an individual gives up trying to escape a painful situation after repeatedly failing to escape.

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learned helplessness in Medicine

learned helplessness n.
A laboratory model of depression in which exposure to a series of unforeseen adverse situations gives rise to a sense of helplessness or an inability to cope with or devise ways to escape such situations, even when escape is possible.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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