The Acquisition of Mood
Regulation in the Human
In order to understand what renders the human organism vulnerable to depression, we have to examine how mood and mood regulation normally develop in infancy and early childhood. Most of the existing theories about the etiology of depression have been derived from the analysis of adult patients who, together with their analysts, reconstructed the events that may have contributed to the development of a particular mood disorder. Stern (1987) refers to that entity as the "clinical infant," as distinguished from the "observed infant," a construct which has been arrived at from the actual observation of normal and not‐ so-normal children. In what follows we will discuss primarily the observed infant and those inferences about its affective and cognitive structures that have been developed from these systematic observations and that are congruent with the data of ethology. The section of this chapter which deals with case history material naturally has to discuss the clinical infant.
The human baby enters life with a blueprint for its psychological and physiological development, together with an entire arsenal of behavior patterns, or systems, designed to elicit mothering behavior from a primary caretaker, and a powerful need