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Concerned with the understanding and treatment of mental disorders

Abnormal Psychology


Behavior which is regarded by society as deviant or maladaptive

Abnormal Behavior
According to the DSM-IV, an individual must be suffering or show maladaptive functioning in order for behavior to be described as abnormal


One of the pioneers in the 18th century in viewing behavior as having physical causes; suggested that abnormal behavior was like other forms of illness and argue for treating them like patients rather than chaining in dark cells

Phillipe Pinel
A French doctor who ran the Bicetre asylum in Paris


A theory of abnormal behavior which assumes that all such disorders have physiological causes

Medical Model


Medical doctors who specialize in treating mental disorders



2 systems of classification of abnormal behaviors

1. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) by American Psychiatric Association
2. International Classification of Diseases (ICD) by World Health Organization


Anxiety disorder in which a person feels anxiety about experiencing panic attacks in public, and therefore avoids public situations



2 primary criteria identified by DSM-IV-TR to determine whether a person's behavior is describe a mental disorder

1. Suffering (implies that behavior causes the individual distress or anxiety)
2. Maladaptiveness (implies that the person's functioning in daily life is significantly impaired)


A behavioral pattern in which an individual shows a history of disregard and violence towards others, unaccompanied by guilt; although these individuals may not report either suffering or unsatisfactory functioning, their behavior is still deemed abnormal because it violates society's norms in such significant ways

Anti-Social Personality Disorder


In Northern Africa and Middle Eastern societies, the term __ refers to the possession of an individual by a ghost. People with this may show a variety of symptoms: in some, there is withdrawal, apathy and loss of appetite. In others, there may be crying, shouting, laughing, singing, or self-injurious behaviors.



This is an extreme form of anxiety found among Eskimos of western Greenland. It occurs after or during periods of sensory deprivation, such as kayaking alone on a slightly wavy sea on a sunny day. This condition resembles a panic disorder, with the individual experiencing cognitive and perceptual distortions, and a terror that the individual will die if he moves.

Kayak Angst


This is a syndrome found in Korea during the course of a prolonged psychosomatic illness. In this disorder, the individual believes that he/she has been possessed by the spirit of a dead ancestor. The cure comes through a dream or hallucination in which the individual is persuaded to become a shaman.



While not restricted to a specific culture, these kind of disorder seems to be particular to cultures and parts of culture where food is plentiful and thinness is seen as desirable (not surprisingly, North American and Europe have the highest incidence of these disorders).

Eating disorders
Because of distorted concerns about body image and weight, in anorexia nervosa, the individual exercises and starves himself/herself to the point of emaciation; in bulimia nervosa, an individual induces vomiting and/or diarrhea to reduce weight.


An anxiety disorder found mainly among young men in southern China; in this syndrome, the man worries about his sexuality and virility, leading him to suffer from the delusion that his penis is shrinking and retracting into his abdomen; he has the panic-stricken belief that he will die when the retraction is complete



A dissociative disorder found in Malaysia; first the individual experiences a period of brooding, then there is an extremely violent, even homicidal, outburst directed at other people or objects



Identify the 5 major dimensions/axes for assessment utilized by the DSM-IV

Axis I: Clinical Syndromes (primary classification of disorders based on behavioral symptoms)
Axis II: Personality Disorders and Mental Retardation (PD: long-standing patterns of maladaptive behaviors; MR: disorders causing significant intellectual impairment)
Axis III: General Medical Conditions (any physical problems which may be relevant to the condition)
Axis IV: Psychosocial and Environmental Factors (assessment of the severity of stressors which contribute to the condition)
Axis V: Global Assessment of Functioning (general evaluation of functioning during the past year in terms of work, leisure and social relationships)


The study of the causes of a disease or mental disorder

Aetiology / Etiology


A mark or label which identifies an individual as deviant, resulting in social rejection



A psychiatrist with an extreme view that we cannot identify the causes because there is no such thing as a mental disorder; argued that mental disorders are a 'myth' and that identifying behavior as abnormal is simply a way for society and clinicians to justify interfering in an individual's life

Thomas Szasz


Many types of factors can contribute to a particular behavior: ___ factors refer to genetic inheritance, prior experience and beliefs; ___ factors refer to immediate stressors like loss of a family member; and ___ factors refer to consequences of a disorder that help to perpetuate it, such as reactions of family or society

Predisposing; Precipitating; Sustaining


The biological approach to abnormal behavior is based on the ___, which assumes that disorders are based on physical causes.

Medical Model
Causes are usually attributed to abnormalities in either the structure or functioning of the brain.


Compared to alternative treatments like psychoanalysis or behavior modification, it is relatively low cost, fast-acting and requires comparatively little of the doctor's time

Drug Therapy


The behaviorist approach interprets abnormal behavior in terms of __. Like all behaviors, abnormal behavior is acquired through a process of __ and __.

The behaviorist approach interprets abnormal behavior in terms of FAULTY LEARNING. Like all behaviors, abnormal behavior is acquired through a process of CONDITIONING and LEARNING.


A technique based on classical conditioning which is designed to treat phobias (unrealistic fears) and related anxiety disorder by gradually diminishing the undesired response

Systematic Desensitization
It seeks to eliminate the fear response by replacing it with a competing response of relaxation.


Who created systematic desensitization?

Joseph Wolpe


An irrational fear of a specific object or situation which is severe enough to interfere with an individual's functioning in daily life



In systematic desensitization, a list of fear-evoking stimuli, ranging from very mild to very intense, arranged in order of the intensity of fear which they elicit

Hierarchy of Fears


A form of behavior modification which is designed to induce an aversive response to stimuli which are associated with existing undesirable behaviors

Aversive Conditioning
(ex. an alcoholic might be given a drug called antabuse, which when present in the body reacts with alcohol to cause extreme nausea and vomiting)


A form of behavior modification based on operant conditioning; most commonly used in institutional settings, it involves giving conditioned reinforcers (tokens) for doing specific behaviors

Token Economy


The cognitive approach interprets abnormal behavior in terms of underlying mediational processes - either __ or the influence of __.

Symbolic mediation of conditioning; Faulty cognitions


An extension of behavior modification which uses cognitive mediation (such as observing a model) in addition to basic conditioning techniques

Cognitive Behavior Modification


A form of therapy which focuses on the role of faulty beliefs and thought patterns in abnormal behavior

Cognitive Therapy
Because it also encourages testing beliefs via behavioral strategies, it is sometimes call Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


Cognitive behavior modification can be traced back to the work of Albert Bandura where he found that __ (where the individual actually does what the model does) is more effecting in the treatment of snake phobia than systematic desensitization and observing a model.

Participant Modelling


A form of therapy developed by Albert Ellis which focuses on the relationship between thoughts and emotions, particularly negative emotions which arise form an individual's faulty interpretations of experiences

Rational-Emotive Therapy
Operates on the ABC principle (A-ctivating Event, B-elief, C-onsequence)


People who focus excessively on negative events are engaging in what Ellis calls __.



In Ellis's rational-emotive therapy, a process for modifying faulty beliefs and the negative emotions they produce, in order to develop realistic beliefs and self-acceptance

Cognitive Restructuring


The various theories which make up the psychodynamic approach all assume that abnormal behavior is the product of some form of __.

Inner Conflict


However they view the source of conflict, all psychodynamic theorists agree on two points: first, that abnormal behavior is only the __, not the cause of the problem; and second, that treatment requires gaining __ and __ of the underlying conflicts which represent the true cause of disorders.

Symptom; Awareness; Understanding


In psychodynamic theory, the assumption that changing overt behavior without addressing dynamics will lead to the expression of the problem in a new way

Symptom Substitution


In psychotherapy, awareness of the underlying conflicts which are regarded as the causes of behavior



In psychoanalysis, the displacement of drive energy from past relationships, often between the individual and a parent, to the relationship between the individual and the therapist



In psychoanalysis, the rejection by an individual of the analyst's interpretations of the meaning of behavior; regarded as a defense mechanism



Commonly used techniques of Freud to identify the underlying causes of conflict

Free association, Transference and Resistance
(Projective tests came later and generally have been shown to be poor assessment tools.)


A short-term, focused psychodynamic therapy which emphasizes current interpersonal problems and the development of strategies for dealing with them

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)


For the humanistic psychologists, judgments of what is appropriate or 'normal' depend on an individual's own __, objective definitions of 'abnormal' are __. The humanists emphasize the potential for __, and focus on helping the individual grow. In effect, it is a psychology of __, not a therapy for abnormal behavior.

Perceptions; Meaningless; Growth; Health


Approach/es with little use for classification systems like the DSM

Behaviorist and Humanistic


A form of therapy developed by Carl Rogers which emphasizes the responsibility of the individual to determine the direction of change within therapy

Person-Centered Therapy
(also called client-centered therapy)


The measured effectiveness of a treatment technique in medicine or psychotherapy



Any variety of treatment for abnormal behavior which is primarily verbal in nature, rather than based on the use offdrugs



Describe the biological approach in terms of view of aetiology and view of treatment

Aetiology: Physiological and/or genetic defects
Treatment: Use of drugs
(ex. SSRIs for treatment of depression)


Describe the behaviorist approach in terms of view of aetiology and view of treatment

Aetiology: Reinforcement of maladaptive behavior
Treatment: Behavior modification by conditioning and/or reinforcement
(ex. systematic desensitization for treating phobias)


Describe the cognitive approach in terms of view of aetiology and view of treatment

Aetiology: Distorted and/or inappropriate thought patterns
Treatment: Change thought patterns as mediators of behavior
(ex. rational-emotive therapy for depression)


Describe the psychodynamic approach in terms of view of aetiology and view of treatment

Aetiology: Unresolved conflicts related to early development
Treatment: Develop insight into nature and origins of conflicts
(ex. interpersonal therapy for depression)


Describe the humanistic approach in terms of view of aetiology and view of treatment

Aetiology: Incongruence due to conditions of worth imposed by others
Treatment: Providing conditions of growth
(ex. person-centered therapy for low self-esteem)


In medicine or therapy, improvement in an individual's condition in the absence of treatment

Spontaneous Remission


Primary non-specific factors associated with treatment

Support and Hope


Psychiatrist Jerome Frank suggested that common factors in all forms of treatment are the clinician's __ and the __ which this instils in the individual.

Commitment to helping; Belief in improvement


Psychodynamic therapist Hans Strupp states that creating an atmosphere of __ and __ is itself of great therapeutic value.

Psychodynamic therapist Hans Strupp states that creating an atmosphere of ACCEPTANCE and EMPATHY is itself of great therapeutic value.


An analysis of the factors that contribute to successful treatment showed that the commitment of therapist and patient (sometimes called the ___), and the __ of the patient were the significant elements.

An analysis of the factors that contribute to successful treatment showed that the commitment of therapist and patient (sometimes called the THERAPEUTIC ALLIANCE), and the EMOTIONAL COMMITMENT of the patient were the significant elements.


Approach to treatment where the practitioner draw upon a range of techniques on a case-by-case basis, rather than adhering to a single theoretical model



A severe form of dissociative reaction which can result in several independent personalities being manifested

Multiple personality Disorder


A severe form of mental disorder in which there can be distortions of perception, thought, langauge and emotions

The term was first used by Eugene Bleuler, drawing on the Greek words for 'split mind.'


Behaviors associated with a mental disorder which would not occur in a healthy person; for example, hallucinations in schizophrenia or sleep disturbances in depression

Positive Symptoms


False beliefs which are maintained in the absence of clear evidence to the contrary



False perceptions in the absence of relevant sensory stimuli, such as hearing voices or seeing objects which are not present



Distortions of thinking processes such as violations of logic, incoherent speech and inappropriate shifts in word usage

Thought Disturbances


Apparent violations of logic



The absence of expected behaviors; in schizophrenia, include bodily immobility, limited speech, flattened affect (absence of emotional expression) and social withdrawal

Negative Symptoms


A form of mental disorder resulting from the excessive use of amphetamines; its primary symptom, extreme paranoid delusions, can make it appear symptomatically identical to paranoid schizophrenia

Amphetamine Delusional Disorder


Enumerate 5 subtypes of schizophrenia



Subtype of schizophrenia characterized by a mixture of symptoms, not fitting one of the other types

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia


Subtype of schizophrenia characterized by excessive motor behavior, or unresponsive, inactive stupor; sometimes alternating between the two extremes

Catatonic Schizophrenia


Subtype of schizophrenia characterized by hallucinations (e.g. hearing voices) and delusions (e.g. of being persecuted, or of exaggerated self-importance)

Paranoid Schizophrenia


Subtype of schizophrenia characterized by incoherent speech and thought (e.g. word salad), inappropriate emotional expression and bizarre behavior

Disorganized Schizophrenia


Subtype of schizophrenia characterized by moderate symptoms (often flat affect and limited speech) occurring after an acute episode of schizophrenia

Residual Schizophrenia


Best known approach for explaining the causes of schizophrenia

Biological approach - Medical Model


The first of the modern anti-psychotic drugs introduced by Heinz Lehmann in North America; used to reduce positive symptoms associated with schizophrenia



A theory which argues that schizophrenia is based on overactivity in neural pathways which depend on dopamine as a neurotransmitter

Dopamine Hypothesis


Heinrichs has noted that individuals with schizophrenia whosw about the same performance deficits as patients with __ damage, as shown in PET scans.

Frontal Lobe


Developed by Mednick and his colleagues, this model states that developing schizophrenia requires two types of adverse events or 'hits'; first hit occurs during the second trimester of pregnancy (contracting disease such as influenza); second hit would be a subsequent environmental stress, including possibly trauma during birth or negative rearing conditions

'Two Hit' Model


A theory which views abnormal behavior as being due to a combination of a physiological predisposition and a stressful environment

Diathesis-Stress Model
Reminiscent to the two hit model
(ex. a genetic defect or influence during the second trimester could be the diathesis, and childhood poverty could be the stress)


The problem, for both the environmental theories and the medical mode, is that nearly all of the evidence is __. That is, we are unable to do controlled experiments to test the theories; instead, researchers have to work backwards, after the disorder has already been diagnosed.



The behaviorist approach interprets abnormal behavior, including schizophrenia, as simply __.

Maladaptive Learning


__ programs represent one of the most frequent applications of the behaviorist approach within mental institutions.

Token Economy


The cognitive approach focused on these three aspects of schizophrenia which can be explained by faulty cognitive processing

Delusions, Language and Thought Disturbances


According to Roger Brown, the language of individuals with schizophrenia will have private significance to the individual, which can only be interpreted by a patient observer. Sometimes the difficulty seems to be a looseness of __ - the associations which a word suggests, rather than its specific meaning. It implies that they sometimes use language in such __ ways.

Connotation; Idiosyncratic
(ex. the word 'life' might conjure up human birth (a new life), a magazine (Life), a party ('the life of..') and so on, leading to 'the baby came in the magazine and the noise was too much.')


An error involving misinterpreting the significance of stimuli and events; while sometimes considered a form of delusion, it can also arise through faulty perceptual processing

Faulty Reference


Apparent lapses in reasoning; for example, the person may say 'The Virgin Mary is a virgin. I am a virgin. Therefore I am the Virgin Mary'

Logical Errors


A theory which argues that schizophrenia is due to difficulties in selecting and attending to the relevant stimuli in a situation

Defective Attention Theory
Many individuals who have developed schizophrenia have described their early symptoms in terms of behavior like memorizing trivial details, being easily distracted, or misinterpreting instructions.


The pscyhodynamic approach views schizophrenia as a severe distortion of psychological functioning; that is, __ functioning is impaired, resulting in the loss of __.

Ego; Reality testing


To Freud, schizophrenia reflected a regression to the __ or __ stages, during which the __ first develops.

Oral; Anal; Ego


Margaret Mahler, a neo-Freudian theorist, suggested schizophrenia develops from the child's __ from the mother. This intense interdependency is called __, which prevents the child from developing a healthy, distinct ego.

Inability to separate; Symbiotic attachment


A theory of schizophrenia developed by anthropologist Gregory Bateson and his colleagues, which argues that faulty communication patterns within the family are the cause of schizophrenia

Double-Bind Hypothesis
(ex. mother gives contradictory messages, like urging the child to 'come closer', but shrinks from physical contact, which creates confusion and ambivalence for the child)


A pattern of communication within families which is characterized by high levels of criticism, hostility and emotional intensity

Expressed Emotion
Associated theory mphasizes on recovery/relapse rates of schizophrenia rather than causation


The behaviors which are labelled as 'schizophrenia' represent the individual's __, however distorted it may seem to other people.

Response to the world


For the humanistic therapist, the essential concern is to try to understand __ the person is experiencing.

(As Rollo May has said, focusing on the how and why of the individual's condition will result in understanding 'everything except the most important thing of all, the existing person')


In Rogerian terms, externally imposes conditions of worth lead to an extreme lack of __. For some individuals, the __ created by the demands of others can result in a vritual dissolution of the individual's sense of self.

Congruence; Incongruence


A type of dissociative reaction in which the individual psychologically withdraws from a situation, often accompanied by feeling that their body is not real or belongs to someone else



While definitions of abnormal behavior have varied historically, it has typically been defined in terms of __ from society's norms. Today, DSM-IV-TR identifies significant __ and/or __ as the primary criteria.

Deviance; Suffering; Maladaptive functioning


Abnormal psychology involves three aspects: __, __, and __.

Diagnosis of the problem; Understanding the cause of the problem; Therapy to treat the problem


While each of the five approaches has its own interpretations of the origins of abnormal behavior, at present the primary means of assessing the various theories is by examining their __ as therapies.



Evidence suggests that all the approaches have some values, but that no approach is superior for all forms of disorders. One explanation for this outcome may be that there are non-specific effects of therapy in general, such as __ provided by the therapist, and the individual's belief that __.

Emotional support; Therapy can help


Critics have questioned the value of classification systems like DSM-IV-TR, citing problems of __ and __, but most psychiatrists and other clinicians find classification helpful.

Misdiagnosis; Stigmatizing effects of labels


Like psychodynamic and humanistic therapies, cognitive therapy places an emphasis on __ into one's behavior.



Schizophrenia is one of the most challenging forms of mental disorder, and has been the focus of considerable research. Though the term itself is less than a hundred years old, the primary symptoms of __, __, __ and __ have been recorded since ancient times.

Delusions; Hallucinations; Thought disturbances; Distortions of emotional expression


The effectiveness of __ in treating the primary symptoms has led to theories of schizophrenia based on neurotransmitter imbalanced.

Neuroleptic drugs


Studies of heredity and physiological factors have failed to identify a single factor present in all cases, even for specific subtypes of schizophrenia. This has led to development of the __, which suggests that schizophrenia results from a combination of a physiological predisposition and the effects of environmental stressors.

Diathesis-Stress Model


The other approaches interpret schizophrenia in terms of maladaptive learning of various types. Of these, the __ of the __ approach seems to offer the greatest potential to enhance our understanding, possibly in conjunction with the medical model.

Defective-Attention Theory; Cognitive