the study of people who suffer from mental, emotional, and physical pain

Abnormality is culturally define by:

Cultural norms (standards we live by) and Cultural relativism (no universal standards)

Theorists who are that behaviors can only be abnormal to cultural norms are components of:

Cultural Relativism

Culture and gender influence

Ways people express symptoms of abnormality
People's willingness to admit to certain types of behaviors or feelings
Types of treatments deemed acceptable or helpful for people exhibiting abnormal behaviors

The Four D's of Abnormality

Dysfunction: interfere with daily life
Distress: cause emotion or physical pain
Deviance: violating any norms/ outside cultural norms
Dangerousness: can harm or scare self or others

Historical Perspective on Abnormalities

Biological Theories: abnormality is caused by the breakdown of systems in the body
Supernatural Theories: abnormality results from divine intervention, curses, exorcism etc
Psychological Theories: abnormality results from trauma or chronic stress, cure is

mental hygiene movement

Mid-19th-century effort to improve care of the mentally disordered by informing the public of their mistreatment.
- proposed more humane treatment of mental illness
- moral treatment: patients should be provided with humane conditions to live in (failed t

Biological Perspectives

general paresis: disease that leads to paralysis, insanity & eventually death

Psychoanalytic Perspective

Psychoanalytic Theory (Freud): abnormal behavior caused by unconscious conflict (treat via hypnosis or talking therapy to bring about catharsis)

Mesmerism (Psychoanalytic Perspective)

abnormal behavior caused by magnetic disturbance in the body ; treatment of hysterical patients based on the idea that the person's magnetism was affected

Psychoanalytic Theory (Freud)

psychoanalysis: study of the unconscious
abnormal behavior caused by unconscious conflict (treat via hypnosis or talking therapy to bring about catharsis)


-Pavlov, Thorndlike, Skinner
-abnormal behavior can be caused by patterns of reinforcement & punishment

Behaviorism is based on what two assumptions

1. All learning occurs through interactions with environment
2. The environment shapes our behavior

Classical Conditioning

a conditioned response in the presence of a stimuli (US to UR) & (CS to CR)
- targets associations made between emotions & stimuli


thought processes that influence behavior and emotion

Self efficacy belief

-beliefs that one can engage in the behaviors necessary to overcome a situation

Biological Approach

-brain dysfunction, biochemical imbalances, and genetic abnormalities
-erase blame from patients and families
-does not work for everyone
-Phineas Gage case: suffered accident when brain was damaged, showed no impairment in speech walk or learning disabil

biopsychosocial approach

-called risk factors when they increase the risk of psychological problems
- diathesis stress model: when risk factor & trigger/stress come together in the same individual, a full-blown disorder emerges.

Diathesis + Stress = Disorder

-Diathesis: biological factors, social factor, psychological factor
-Stress: biological trigger, social trigger, psychological trigger

The Brain

hindbrain- basic life functions
midbrain- sensory information, control movement, reward response
forebrain- emotions and thinking


regulates eating, drinking, sexual behavior, & processes basic emotions


structure of the limbic system that is critical in fight or flight response and fear


Messengers from one neuron to another that carry impulses
-Reuptake: occurs when one neuron that initially released the neurotransmitter into the synpase reabsorbs neurotransmitters
-Degradation: when the neuron releases an enzyme into the synapse that br


the gap between the icons and neurons

Improper reuptake and degradation

can cause problems


emotions, influences depression, anxiety and aggression


Found in the areas of the brain associated with the experience of reinforcements or rewards


a person is depressed when there is too little, cocaine allows it to stay in brain longer


influences anxiety, tranquilizing effect of some drugs is because they increase inhibitory activity of the GABA

Endocrine System

produces hormones: carry messages throughout the body & affects mood, energy & reaction to stress

Polygenetic Process

takes multiple genetic abnormalities to cause a disorder


environmental conditions affect the expression of genes

Genes and the environment can interact with each other to cause


Antipsychotic drugs

reduce psychotic symptoms (loss of reality testing, hallucinations, delusions)

Antidepressant drugs

reduce symptoms of depression


reduce manic symptoms, mood stabilizer (agitation, excitement, grandiosity)

Antianxiety drugs

reduce anxiety, benzodiazepines


electrical current to induce a seizure to treat depression & bipolar disorder


brain surgery to destroy small areas of brain thought to be in a patient's symptoms
- lobotomy
- much safer

Behavioral Approaches

focus on the influence of reinforcements and punishments in producing behavior
core two principles: classical and operant conditioning

Operant conditioning

the shaping of behaviors by providing a reward for desired behaviors and punishment for undesired behaviors
-continuous/partial reinforcement schedule

L Thorndike

observed that behaviors that are followed by a reward are strengthened, whereas behaviors that are followed by a punishment are weakened

Continuous Reinforcement Schedule

behaviors will be learned most quickly if they are paired with there reward or punishment every time the behavior is exhibited

Partial Reinforcement Schedule

reward or punishment occurs only sometimes in response to the behavior


eliminating a learned behavior (more difficult when behavior was learned through partial reinforcement schedule than when the behavior was learned through a continuous schedule)

Conditioned avoidance response

avoiding a fear so there is never an opportunity to extinguish the fear


people learn behaviors from imitating the behaviors modeled by important people in their lives

Observational Learning

when a person observes the rewards and punishments that another person receives and behaves in accordance

Behavioral therapies focus on

identifying those reinforcements and punishments that contrite to a persons maladaptive behaviors and one changing specific behaviors

Behavioral assessment

the therapist works with the client to identify the specific circumstances that seem to elicit the clients unwanted behavior or emotions

Cognitive theories

Human behavior motivated by more than associations, reward & punishment.
- our thoughts or beliefs shape our behavior and emotions we experiences

Causal attribution

when something happens to us, we ask ourselves why that event happened
- the meaning given to an event affects how people feel about it & respond to it

Cognitive therapies

help clients identify and challenge their negative thoughts & dysfunctional belief systems

Three Goals in Cognitive Therapy

1. assist client in identifying maladaptive thoughts
2. teach clients to challenge thoughts and think of alternate ways of thinking
3. encourage clients to face fears and give ways to cope

Psychodynamic theories

suggest that all behaviors, thoughts, and emotions, whether normal or abnormal, are influenced to a large extent by unconscious processes

Who developed psychoanalysis? what did it aim at?

-developed by Freud
-1. a theory of personality and psychopathology
-2. a method of investigating the mind
-3. a form of treatment for psychopathology


motivated forgetting of a difficult experience or of an unacceptable wish

Two basic human drives

sexual (libido) and aggressive


-source of libido & aggressive drives
-impulses seek immediate release
-pleasure principle


seeks gratification of id impulses in socially appropriate ways


-develops from ego
-rules and regulations for behavior

Psychosexual stages

Freud proposed that as children develop they pass through a series of universal stages:
oral stage
anal stage
phallic stage
genital stage

Psychodynamic therapies

free association, examining transference, Interpersonal therapy (shifting focus)

Humanistic theories

based on the assumption that humans have an innate capacity for goodness and for living a full life
- Carl Roger's approach: individuals naturally move toward personal growth, self-acceptance & self actualization

Self actualization

fulfillment of one's potential for love, creativity, & meaning

Humanistic therapy

to help clients discover their greatest potential through self-exploration

Sociocultural Approaches

focus on understanding problems within society and environment


process of gathering info about people's symptoms and the possible causes


label for a set of symptoms that often occur together


the accuracy of a test in assessing what it is supposed to measure


indicates its accuracy/consistency in measuring what its suppose to measure

Test-retest reliability

test produces similar results when given at two points in time

Alternate Form Reliability

two versions of the same test produce the same results

Internal Reliability

different parts of the same test produce similar results


strict guidelines regarding the method of administering a test/questionnaire
- prevents extraneous factors from affecting a person's response

Behavioral Observation

more natural approach
- advantage: doesn't rely on individual's reporting & interpretation of their own behaviors
- disadvantage: individuals may alter their behavior when they're being watched


a treatment, usually based on a theory of a phenomenon that addresses those factors the theory says cause the phenomenon

Projective test

based on the assumption that when people are presented with an ambiguous stimulus, they interpret it with their current concern or feelings


a label attached to a set of symptoms that tend to occur together

fight or flight response

set of physical & psychological responses that help us fight a threat or flee from it
-result from the activation of two systems controlled by the hypothalamus (autonomic nervous system & adrenal cortical system)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

after exposure to trauma and repeated nightmares and flashbacks
- persistent avoidance of situations, thought or memories associated with the trauma
-negative changes in thought & mood associated with the event
-hypervigilance & chronic overarousal

Theories of PTSD

-Environmental & Social Factors: severity & duration, individual's proximity to trauma & amount of social support available
-Psychological Factors: pre-existing conditions increase risk
-Gender & Cross-Cultural Differences: women are more prone,african am

Acute Stress Disorder

occurs in response to traumas similar to those involved in PTSD
-arises within 1 month of exposure and lasts no longer than 4 weeks

Treatments for PTSD

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and stress management
-exposure therapy
-stress-inoculation therapy
-biological therapies

Specific Phobias

-unreasonable or irrational fears of specific objects or situations

Social Anxiety Disorder

people become anxious in social situations and are afraid of being rejected, judged, or humiliated in public
-severe disruption in a person's daily life

Theories of Social Anxiety Disorder

- Genetic Basis
-Cognitive Perspective

Panic Disorder

recurrent unexpected panic attacks
-short but intense periods during which people experience many symptoms of anxiety
-anxiety sensitivity
-interoceptive awareness
-interoceptive conditioning

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

certain repetitive behaviors to relieve anxiety from specific intrusive and distressing thoughts
-thoughts & images associated with aggression, sexuality &/or religion
-something bad will happen
-need to make things "just right"
-fear of contamination


pulling out hair

Cognitive Behavioral therapy

focuses on changing ways of thinking by using coping skills
-reframe thoughts

OCD Medication



-short term relief for GAD
-reduce panic attacks
-PTSD symptoms
can cause relapse

L Thorndike


Intelligence Tests

used to measure abilities such as abstract reasoning, verbal fluency, & spatial memory

Personality Inventory

assess people's typical ways of thinking, feeling & behaving


thoughts, ideas or impulses that are persistent, that uncontrollably intrude upon consciousness, and that cause significant anxiety or distress
-example: repeatedly checking the locks on all doors


a treatment for phobias in which clients are exposed repeatedly and intensively to a feared object and made to see that it is actually harmless

Somatic Symptom Disorder

experiencing significant physical symptoms for which there is no apparent organic cause
-excessive worry about the symptoms that cause significant distress &/or impairment
-6 months is the category that the person has to be experiencing the symptom

Ilness Anxiety Disorder

AKA Hypochondriasis
-worry about having or developing a serious illness
-somatic symptoms may or may not be present
-individual displays excessive health related behaviors
-6 months to meet the criteria

Differences between both

people with somatic symptom disorder actually experience physical symptoms & seek help for them, whereas people with illness anxiety disorder worry that they will develop or have a serious illness but do not always experience severe physical symptoms

Treatments of Somatic Symptom Disorder and Illness Anxiety Disorder

-Psychodynamic therapies: provide insight into the connection between emotional & physical symptoms
-Cognitive Therapies: challenge catastrophizing & learn to interpret physical symptoms appropriately
-Behavioral Therapies: reward healthy behaviors & remo

Conversion Disorder

AKA Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder
-the brain & nerves look normal
-loss of neurologic functioning in a sensory or motor area of the body without physical cause
-common symptoms: paralysis, blindness, mutism, seizures, loss of hearing, severe lo

Theories of Conversion Disorder

- psychic energy from repressed emotions is transferred to a part of the body
- primary gain: physical symptoms to avoid anxiety
- secondary gain: attention from others, relieved of obligations
-alleviates stress by removing indi

Factious Disorder

Munchausen's syndrome
- deliberate faking of illness for attention
-malingering: faking a symptom or a disorder in order to avoid something
Munchausen by Proxy
-falsifying illness in another person
-done to get attention as in a mother's faking a symptom


different parts of an individual's identity, memory or consciousness split off from one another

Dissociative Disorders

two modes of consciousness explain how dissociation occurs
-active mode: conscious plans & desires & voluntary actions
-passive receptive mode: registers & stores information in memory without being aware that the information has been processed

Dissociative Identity Disorder

AKA multiple personalities
-disruption of identity into two or more distinct personality states, referred to as alters
-is a result of coping strategies used by persons faced with extreme trauma (physical/sexual abuse)
-treatment: help rebuild the capacit

Dissociative Amnesia

-inability to recall important autobiographical information, typically of a traumatic nature
-forgetting can be specific to an event or generalized to identity & life history

Organic Amnesia

caused by brain injury
-anterograde amnesia: inability to remember new information

Psychogenic Amnesia

arises in the absence of any brain injury or disease and is thought to have psychological causes

Retrograde Amnesia

inability to retrieve information from one's past
-can have both organic and psychogenetic causes

Dissociative Fugue

disorder in which one travels away from home and is unable to remember details of his past, including often his identity

depersonalization/derealization disorder

Episodic feelings of detachment from one's own mental processes or body, like an outside observer of oneself

symptoms of depression

depressed mood, reduced interest in almost all activities, overeating or not eating much at all, sleeping too much or too little, fatigue, difficulty with concentration.

major depressive disorder

depressive symptoms lasting 2 weeks or more
-major depressive disorder, single episode
-major depressive disorder, recurrent episodes

persistent depressive disorder

a form of depression that is not severe enough to be diagnosed as major depressive disorder
-milder depressed mood for most of the day for at least 2 years

seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

experience & fully recover from major depressive episodes occurring seasonally for at least 2 years

Peripartum Onset

subtype of depression that applies to women who experience an episode of major depression either during pregnancy or in the four weeks following childbirth

premenstrual dysphoric disorder

increase in distress during the premenstrual phase


a state of persistently elevated mood, feelings of grandiosity, overenthusiasm, racing thoughts, rapid speech and impulsive actions

Bipolar I and Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar I
- elevated, expansive or irritable mood lasting more than 1 week and additional symptoms
Bipolar II
-severe depression (hypomania)