Flashcards in Psychopathology Deck (40):
What are the 4 definitions of abnormality called?
~ Statistical Infrequency
~ Deviation From Social Norms
~ Failure To Function Adequately
~ Deviation From Ideal Mental Health
What is statistical infrequency?
Any behaviour or characteristic that is statistically rare is regarded as abnormal. This can be understood in relation to a normal distribution curve.
Evaluate statistical infrequency
❌ This definition does not consider that some abnormal behaviour is actually desirable (e.g. High IQ).
❌ The cut off point for where a behaviour becomes infrequent is subjectively determined (e.g sometimes people will say it's the upper and lower 10 percentile and others will say it's the upper and lower 25 percentile).
What is deviation from social norms?
Abnormal behaviour is behaviour that violates society's unstated rules about how one "ought" to behave.
What are social norms?
Standards of acceptable behaviour that are set by the social group.
Evaluate deviation from social norms?
❌ A difficulty with the concept of deviation from social norms is that it varies as time changes. What is acceptable now may not have been acceptable 50 years ago (e.g. Homosexuality).
❌ Making judgements on deviance is often related to the concept of behaviour. In many cases there is not a clear line between what an abnormal deviation is and what simply more harmless eccentricity is. Therefore social deviation on its own can't offer a complete definition as it is inevitably due to both context and degree.
What is failure to function adequately?
This judges people based on their ability to go about daily life. If they can't do this then it is considered as a sign of abnormality.
Evaluate failure to function
❌ In order to determine "failure to function", someone needs to decide this is the case. However it depends on who is making the judgement and can be subjective.
❌ Some apparently dysfunctional behaviour can actually be functional for the individual. E.g. Some eating disorders such as eating disorders may lead to extra attention for the individual which is rewarding and thus quite functional rather than dysfunctional for the individual.
What is deviation from ideal mental health?
Defines abnormality in terms of mental health, behaviours that are associated with competence and happiness. Jahoda wrote a review about good mental health with 6 categories:
~ Self attitudes
~ Personal growth and self actualisation
~ Having an accurate perception of reality
~ Mastery of the environment
This definition of abnormality proposes that the absence of these criteria indicates abnormality and a potential mental disorder.
Evaluate deviation from ideal mental health
❌ According to these criteria, most of us are abnormal to some degree as very few people meet all of the criteria.
❌ Some of the ideas in Jahoda's classification are specific to Western European and North American cultures. So this criteria may not be appropriate for diagnosing abnormality universally.
An irrational fear of an object or a situation.
Define behavioural characteristics of phobias
The ways in which people act.
What are the behavioural characteristics of phobias?
What is avoidance?
When the sufferer tends to go to a lot of effort to avoid coming into contact with the phobic stimulus. This can make it difficult to go about daily life.
What is freezing?
When faced with their phobic stimulus a person may freeze or even faint.
Define emotional characteristics of phobias
How people feel
What are the emotional characteristics of phobias?
~ Feelings of anxiety and panic
What is fear in reference to phobias?
Persistence and is likely to be excessive and unreasonable.
What are feelings of anxiety and panic?
These emotions are cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation.
Define cognitive characteristics of phobias
Refers to the processes that occur within the mind.
What are the cognitive characteristics of phobias?
~ Irrational thoughts
~ Selective attention to the phobic stimulus
What is the two process model?
Used to explain how phobias are learned. The first stage is classical conditioning and the second stage is operant conditioning.
Explain the first stage of the two process model
Classical conditioning explains the initiation of phobias, as it suggests that a phobia is acquired through the association between a NS and an UCS, causing the NS to become the CS.
Explain the second stage of the two process model?
Operant conditioning explains the maintenance of phobias as the fear may continue if it is reinforced.
Evaluate (weaknesses) the two process model
❌ This model suggests that an association between a neutral stimulus and a fearful experience will result in a phobia, however this isn't true for everyone as other factors may be involved in the initiation of phobias.
❌ A better explanation could be the diathesis stress model (we inherit a genetic vulnerability for developing a mental disorder and could be triggered by a stressful life event). This is a more holistic explanation
❌ Ignores the cognitive aspects of phobias. The cognitive approach suggests phobias develop due to irrational thinking. However this isn't acknowledged by the behaviourist approach so this approach alone may not be enough to explain phobias.
Evaluate (strengths) the two process model
✅ People with phobias often do recall a specific incident when their phobias appear (however not all people can) so it may explain some, but not all phobias.
✅ The behaviourist ideas have been sued to develop effective treatments for phobias such as systematic desensitisation. The approach therefore has positive real life application.
What is systematic desensitisation (SD)?
~ A behavioural therapy where phobias are introduced to the feared stimulus gradually
~ The basis of the therapy is counter conditioning
What are the 3 stages of SD?
~ Relaxation - the therapist teaches the patient relaxation techniques
~ Desensitisation Hierarchy - the patient and therapist create a list of situations relating to the phobic stimulus that become increasingly frightening
~ Exposure - the patient is exposed to the first event on their hierarchy and practice their relaxation techniques
What is in vivo?
What is in vitro?
Evaluate (strengths) SD
✅ Research has found that SD is successful for a range of phobic disorders. McGrath reported that 75% of p's respond to SD.
✅ Behavioural therapies for dealing with phobias are generally relatively fast and require less effort on the patients part than other psycho therapies. E.g. CBT requires a lot of will power from the patient in trying to understand their behaviour and apply these insights, whereas SD does not require as much thinking so may be an easier way of treating phobias.
Evaluate (weaknesses) to SD
❌ Ohman suggested that SD may not be as effective in treating phobias that have an underlying survival component. Therefore it may not be appropriate for treating all phobias.
What is flooding?
~ Immediate exposure to a very frightening situation
~ Exposure can be in vivo or in vitro
~ Sessions last 2-3 hours
~ Flooding is based on the idea that a fear response has a time limit therefore the patients anxiety will eventually subside
Evaluate (weaknesses) of flooding
❌ Its not for every patient as it can be a highly traumatic experience. Patients are made aware of this beforehand but even then they may quit, reducing the effectiveness of the therapy.
❌ Although flooding is effective for treating simple phobias, it appears to be less so for more complex phobias (e.g. social phobias). This may be because social phobias have cognitive aspects. Therefore CBT may be more appropriate for these types of phobias.
Evaluate (strengths) flooding
✅ For those patients who do choose flooding as a treatment and stick to it, it appears to be an effective treatment and is relatively quick compared to CBT.
What is depression?
A mood disorder where persistent feelings of sadness interfere with day to day life.
Give examples of behavioural characteristics of depression.
~ A shift in activity level, either reduced (reduced energy, withdrawal from work/social life) or increased (agitated and restless)
~ Changes in sleeping behaviour (insomnia or hypersomnia)
Give examples of emotional characteristics of depression.
Give examples of cognitive characteristics of depression.
~ Negative thoughts about the self, the world and the future
~ Poor levels of concentration