Psychopathology Flashcards Preview

Psychology > Psychopathology > Flashcards

Flashcards in Psychopathology Deck (72):

Definitions of Abnormality

There is no universal definition of abnormal behaviour. Here are 4 possible ways for defining this:
- Deviation from social norms
- Failure to function adequately
- Deviation from ideal mental health
- Statistical infrequency


Deviation from social norms
Examples of social norms x4

Implicit (unspoken social rules)
- Saying please and thank you
- Meeting deadlines
- Cutlery

Explicit (laws and rules)
- Wearing clothes


So according to the deviation from social norms theory, abnormal behaviour is behaviour that....

Violates social norms
e.g. showing inappropriate affect such as laughing when told someone has died, may be seen as a symptom of schizophrenia


Deviation from social norms
Strengths x2

- Generally ensures that people get help as it is very clear to others in society that an individual's behaviour is abnormal.
- Behaviour that is normal in a particular situation or at a particular age in life may not be considered normal in another. as situational and developmental norms are taken into account


Deviation from social norms

- Social norms are subjective and are based, at best, on the opinions on the majority.
- social norms often relate to moral standards and so they change over time as social attitudes change.



- Evaluation of other cultures according to the standards and customs of own's own culture.


Cultural relativism

- The function and meaning of a behaviour, value or attitude are relative to a particular cultural setting. Interpretations about the same behaviour may therefore differ between cultures


Failure to function adequately is

when someone's behaviour is such that they are unable to work, form a relationships, attend to their own physical needs


Rosenhan and Seligman - 7 features

- Personal distress (Depression/anxiety)
- Maladaptive behaviour (cant attain life goals)
- Unpredictability (Unexpected behaviour)
- Irrationality
- Observer discomfort
- Violation of moral standards
- Unconventionality


Failure to function adequately
Strengths x2

- Means most people seek help for psychological problems because it is interfering with their ability to function properly
- Recognises personal experience of the individual


Failure to function adequately
Weaknesses x3

- Abnormality is not always accompanied by dysfunction
- Dysfunction are subjective
- Cultural bias


Deviation from ideal mental health
Jahoda x6

- Positive attitude towards oneself
- Self actualisation
- Autonomy (being independent)
- Resisting stress
- Accurate perception of reality
- Environmental mastery (Competent)


Deviation from ideal mental health
Strengths x2

- emphasises positive achievement
- Creation of personal goals to work towards and achieve


Deviation from ideal mental health
weaknesses x3

- Over demanding criteria
- Subjective, vague and difficult to measure
- Cultural bias


statistical infrequency is

when behaviour is able to be measured and assigned some kind of score


statistical infrequency
strengths x2

- Definition is objective
- No value judgements are made


statistical infrequency

- Where to draw the line
- Not all infrequent behaviours are abnormal
- Not all abnormal behaviours are infrequent


Behavioural = what the person



Emotional = what the person



Cognitive = what the person




- extreme anxiety disorder.


Behavioural characteristics x2

- Avoidant/ anxiety response
- Disruption of functioning


Emotional characteristics x2

- Persistent, excessive fear due to anticipation of the anxiety-provoking stimulus
- Extreme fear/panic attacks from exposure to phobic stimulus


Cognitive characteristics x1

- Recognition that the fear response is overstated


Behavioural characteristics x5

- Loss of energy
- Social impairment
- Weight changes
- poor personal hygiene
- Sleep pattern disturbance


Emotional characteristics x3

- Loss of enthusiasm
- Constant depressed mood
- Worthlessness


Cognitive characteristics x4

- Delusions
- reduced concentration
- Thoughts of death
- Poor memory


Obsessions x2

- Internal
- What they think about and persistent thoughts


Compulsions x2

- External
- What the sufferer does as a result of the obsessions


Behavioual characteristics x3

- Hinder everyday functioning
-Social impairment
- Repetitive behaviors


Emotional characteristics x2

- Extreme anxiety
- Distress


Cognitive characteristics x5

- Recurrent and persistent thoughts
- recognized as self generated
- Realisation of inappropriateness
- Attentional bias
- Uncontrollable urges


The behavioural approach to explaining and treating phobias
The two-process model

1- Explains the acquisition of phobias through classical conditioning
2- Explains the maintenance of phobias through operant conditioning


Phobia acquisition through classical conditioning explanation

a neutral stimulus becomes associated with an unconditioned stimulus which naturally causes a fear response. The association causes a conditioned response of fear to the neutral stimulus, which is now the conditioned stimulus


Maintenance of phobias through operant conditioning + example

Phobic behaviour may be maintained through positive reinforcement.
If showing the phobic behaviour brings attention of others it may be seen as positive reinforcement


Maintenance of phobias through operant conditioning + example

More likely to be maintained through negative reinforcement. the phobic person acts to avoid the phobic stimulus, this reduces the anxiety caused by anticipation of the stimulus which negatively reinforces the avoidant behaviour
If someone is scared of flying they wont go on a plane to avoid the feeling of anxiety


Behavioural approach to explaining phobias
strengths x1

- Treatments for phobias are based on the two-process model. As they have been proven to be very effective


Behavioural approach to explaining phobias

- Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop a phobia of something that was associated with that event
- Reduces the cause of phobias to simple stimulus-response associations, it fails to talk about the role of biology.


Evidence supporting the behavioural approach to explaining phobias x4

- Di Gallo et al
- reported around 20% of people experiencing traumatic car accidents developed a phobia of travelling in cars
- supports classical conditioning explanation as the Neutral stimulus of a car became associated with the fear response of a crash.
- supports operant conditioning because the phobia is maintained due to negative reinforcement because they then avoid travelling in cars


the behavioural approach to treating phobias
two major types of treatment

1- systematic desensitisation
2- Flooding


Systematic desensitisation involves three stages
Stage 1

1- Relaxation training - Typically starts with teaching an individual how to relax using muscle relaxation and breathing techniques


Systematic desensitisation involves three stages
Stage 2

2- Hierarchy construction - This is when the therapist and client both construct a hierarchy of anxiety provoking situations, starting with those that cause the least amount of anxiety going up to most anxiety provoking


Systematic desensitisation involves three stages
Stage 3

3- Treatment - They then work up the hierarchy whilst practising the relaxation techniques. And because it isn't possible to experience a fear response and relaxation at the same time, as long as the client then can remain relaxed then shouldn't experience any fear


Flooding explanation

- This involves exposure to the phobic stimulus but rather than using the step-by-step approach, clients go straight to the top of the hierarchy to be exposed to their most feared scenarios


Supporting evidence to the behavioural approach to TREATING phobias
SD x3

- Brosnan and Thorpe
- Showed the effectiveness of SD in treating technophobia
- They found that reduction in anxiety was three times greater in the treatment group of participants than those who didn't receive SD treatment


Supporting evidence to the behavioural approach to TREATING phobias
Flooding x3

- Wolpe
- Showed the effectiveness of flooding in treating a girls phobia of travelling in a car.
- The girl was forced into a car and driven around for 4 hours until her anxiety had completely subsided


Evaluation of Flooding and Systematic Desensitisation
Strengths x1

- Even though SD and flooding raise ethical issues, the long term benefits of therapy outweigh the short terms costs


Evaluation of Flooding and Systematic Desensitisation
Limitations x2

- Ethical issues (psychological harm)
- SD isn't effective for treating children because children may find it hard to learn relaxation techniques


The cognitive approach to explaining and treating depression
2 cognitive models

1- Beck's negative triad
2- Ellis' ABC model


Beck's negative triad

Negative views about oneself - Negative views about the world - negative views about the future


Beck's negative triad
Schemas x2

They play a part of this alongside cognitive biases.
- they could have developed in early childhood


Examples of 2 schemas

Self-blame - Feel responsible for their failures and misfortunes
Negative self-evaluation - Constantly remind themselves of their worthlessness


Examples of cognitive biases x2

Overgeneralisation - Sweeping conclusions drawn on the basis of a single event
Arbitrary inference - Conclusions drawn in the absence of sufficient evidence


Ellis' ABC model x1

- Suggested that the cause of depression is irrational thought patterns and tendency to interpret events in an irrational way.


Description of Ellis' ABC model

An activating event (A) in an individual's life will be accompanied by a belief about why with event happened (B). This belief will then lead to a consequence (C) in the form of an emotional response . Rational beliefs will lead to desirable emotions and behaviours, while irrational beliefs will lead to undesirable emotions and behaviours


Supporting evidence of the cognitive approach to explaining depression x2

- Boury et al
- Monitored students' negative thoughts with BNT, finding that depressives misinterpret facts and experiences in a negative fashion and feel hopeless about the future


Evaluation of the cognitive approach to explaining depression
Strengths x2

- therapies for depression that are based on cognitive explanations have been proven to be the most effective
- Other explanations are also taken into account


Evaluation of the cognitive approach to explaining depression

- Not everyone with depression has negative beliefs and cognitive biases that Beck would predict
- Beck's triad is criticised for splitting negative thinking into three categories


CBT overview x3

- Aims to change negative or irrational beliefs that underlie depression, replacing them with more positive thinking
- One way is to identify the negative or irrational thoughts and then challenge them
- Therapist and clients work together to set new behavioural goals for their clients


Rational emotive behaviour therapy
Stage 1 x3

Education phase
- Clients learn the relationship between thoughts, emotions and their behaviour using Ellis' ABC model
- Any irrational beliefs that may be causing undesirable behavioural and emotional consequences are identified
- Irrational beliefs are challenged


Rational emotive behaviour therapy
Stage 2 x1

behavioural activation and pleasant event scheduling
- Once the client has learnt to use the ABC model to identify their different thinking and reframe events they encourage to increase physical activity and to socialise with others to improve mood and energy


Rational emotive behaviour therapy
Stage 3

Hypothesis testing
- Goals are set for the client to achieve between sessions. These involve challenging negative and irrational beliefs through hypothesis testing.


Research supporting the cognitive approach to treating depression x1

The department of health
- Reviewed research for treatments for depression including behavioural, cognitive, humanistic and psychotherapeutic ones finding CBT to be the most effective. But behavioural therapy was also effective too so didn't suggest to just use CBT alone.


Evaluation of CBT
Strengths x2

- Most effective psychological treatment for moderate and severe depression and very effective in stopping mild depression from developing further
- Advantages over drug therapy. It has few side effects and likely to have more long term benefits as the techniques involved can be continued after the treatment has ended.


Evaluation of CBT
Limitations x2

- For CBT to be affective well-trained therapists are needed and the NHS does not always have sufficient trained professionals to provide weekly face-to-face sessions
- Ethical concerns over the power that therapists have over patients to influence their thinking and patients can become too dependant of them


The biological approach to explaining OCD
Genetic explanations x4

- Assumed to be due to genetic inheritance
- Majority of studies focused on twin studies and family studies but they fail to completely separate biological factors from environmental factors
- Gene-mapping studies have found further support for a genetic link to OCD.
- A variant of the OLIG-2 gene have found some individuals more vulnerable to developing OCD


Neural explanations
Differences in brain activity

- PET scans show that OCD sufferers have relatively high levels of activity in the orbital frontal cortex, which is where initiating activity upon receiving impulses take place. Unable to stop acting on impulses


Neural explanations
Serotonin x3

- Low levels of serotonin have been linked to OCD
- Over- activity in the orbital frontal cortex may be due to low levels of serotonin.
- Drugs that increase serotonin levels have been found to reduce symptoms of OCD


Neural explanations
Damage to neural mechanisms caused by infection

- Some forms of OCD have been linked to breakdown in immune system functioning. This links is seen more often in children than adults


Evidence supporting the biological approach to explaining OCD

- Stewart et al
- Performed gene mapping on OCD patients and family members, finding that a variant of the OLIG-2 gene commonly occurred, suggesting a genetic link to the condition.


The biological approach to explaining OCD
Strengths x1

- research supporting it


The biological approach to explaining OCD
Limitations x2

- Not all sufferers from OCD respond positively to serotonin enhanced drugs
- Little research in how these relate to the precise mechanisms of the disorder