Causes refer to agents or forces that produce an effect or a result. Causes are one aspect of motivation. (see Reasons, Motivation.)


In psychology, 'causes' refer to the factors or events that lead to certain behaviors, emotions, or mental conditions in individuals. Understanding the causes behind psychological phenomena is crucial for researchers and practitioners to develop effective interventions and treatments. Causes can be classified as internal (biological, cognitive) or external (environmental, social) influences that contribute to psychological outcomes. Identifying and analyzing causes can help in improving mental health outcomes and enhancing overall well-being. Researchers often study the complex interplay of multiple causes to gain a comprehensive understanding of human behavior and mental processes.

Application Areas

  • Clinical psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Experimental psychology

Treatment and Risks

  • Effective treatment involves addressing the underlying causes of psychological issues.
  • Risks associated with ignoring or misinterpreting causes include ineffective interventions and worsening of symptoms.
  • It's important for professionals to consider both individual and environmental causes when developing treatment plans.


  • Childhood trauma as a cause of adult anxiety disorders
  • Genetic predisposition as a cause of certain mental illnesses
  • Peer influence as a cause of risky behavior in adolescents

Similar Concepts and Synonyms

  • Determinants
  • Triggers
  • Factors
  • Influences


Causes in psychology play a crucial role in understanding human behavior and mental processes. By identifying and analyzing causes, researchers and practitioners can develop effective interventions to address psychological issues. It's important to consider both internal and external factors when determining the causes behind psychological phenomena. Recognizing and addressing causes can lead to improved mental health outcomes and overall well-being.


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