Metaphors of Psychological Deterioration: the Case of Depression

Cristiana Tonon (Italian language assistant a Dublino)


Il presente articolo si propone di individuare e analizzare i comportamenti linguistici metaforici di individui che convivono con stati depressivi. A tale scopo, sono stati selezionati quattro fora online di auto-aiuto dedicati a varie malattie mentali, tra cui la depressione. I dati raccolti sono stati interpretati alla luce dei principi cardine della Teoria della Metafora Concettuale e della Teoria psicologica dell’Auto-determinazione. La combinazione di questi due quadri teorici permette, in primo luogo, di individuare modelli metaforici ricorrenti nella comprensione della depressione e, in secondo luogo, di discernere una dimensione psichica armonica da una problematica per il benessere psicologico della persona.

DOI: 10.17456/SIMPLE-161

Parole chiave
Depression, conceptual metaphor theory, self-determination theory, online fora.


Bartczak, Marlena & Barbara Bokus. 2015. Cognitive representations (Metaphorical Conceptualizations) of past, future, joy, sadness and happiness in depressive and non-depressive subjects: cognitive distortions in depression at the level of notion. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 44, 2: 159-185.

Beyond Blue: (consulted on 31/08/19).

Boden, Margaret A. 2004. The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms. London-New York: Routledge.

Deci, Edward L. & Richard M. Ryan. 2000. The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 4: 227-268.

Demjén, Zsófia. 2014. Drowning in negativism, self-hate, doubt, madness: Linguistic insights into Sylvia Plath’s experience of depression. Communication & Medicine, 11, 11: 41-54.

Depression Understood: (consulted on 31/08/19).

Evola, Vito. 2008. La metafora come carrefour cognitivo del pensiero e del linguaggio. Vie della metafora: linguistica, filosofia, psicologia. Chieti: Editore Prime Vie-Sulmona, 55-80.

Friedman, Edward S., Ian M. Anderson, Danilo Arnone & Timothey Denko. 2014. Handbook of Depression. London: Springer Healthcare Limited.

Gentner, Dedre & Julie Colhoun. 2010. Analogical processes in human thinking and learning. Towards a Theory of Thinking. Berlin: Springer, 35-48.

Kimmel, Michael. 2002. Metaphor, Imagery, and Culture. Spatialized Ontologies, Mental Tools, and Multimedia in the Making (Doctoral dissertation, University of Vienna).

Kövecses, Zoltán. 2017. Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Elena Semino & Zsòfia Demjén eds. The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language. Abingdon-New York: Routledge.

Lakoff, George. 1993. The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor. Andrew Ortony ed. Metaphor and Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 202-252.

Lakoff, George & Mark Johnson. 2003 [1980]. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago-London: The University of Chicago Press.

Landau, Mark J., Brian P. Meier & Lucas A Keefer. 2010. A metaphor-enriched social cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 6: 1045-1067.

Lawley, James & Penny Tompkins. 2000. Metaphors in Mind. Transformation Through Symbolic Modelling. London: The Developing Company Press.

Levitt, Heidi, Yifaht Korman & Lynne Angus. 2000. A metaphor analysis in treatments of depression: Metaphor as a marker of change. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 13, 1: 23-35.

Mental Health Forum, (consulted on 31/08/19).

Mind, (consulted on 31/08/19).

Miller, Gregory E. & Ekin Blackwel. 2006. Turning up the heat: Inflammation as a mechanism linking chronic stress, depression, and heart disease. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 6: 269-272.

Pennebaker, James W., Matthias R. Mehl & Kate G. Niederhoffer. 2003. Psychological aspects of natural language use: Our words, our selves. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 1: 547-577.

Pritzker, Sonya. 2003. The role of metaphor in culture, consciousness, and medicine: A preliminary inquiry into the metaphors of depression in Chinese and Western medical and common languages. Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, 4, 1: 11-28.

Ray, Oakley. 2004. How the mind hurts and heals the body. American Psychologist, 59, 1: 29-40.

Ryan, Richard M. & Edward L. Deci. 2000. Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 1: 68-78.

Semino, Elena. 2008. Metaphor in Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Semino, Elena, Zsofia Demjén, Andrew Hardie, Sheila Payne & Paul Rayson. 2017. Metaphor, Cancer and the End of Life: A Corpus-based Study. New York: Routledge.

Steen, Gerard ed. 2010. A Method for Linguistic Metaphor Identification: From MIP to MIPVU [vol. 14]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

World Health Organization. 2017. Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. No. WHO/MSD/MER/2017.2. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Zhong, Chen-Bo & Geoffrey J. Leonardelli. 2008. Cold and lonely: Does social exclusion literally feel cold? Psychological Science, 19, 9: 838-842.

Views: 2931

Download PDF

Downloads: 913