PSY305 lect 1 notes.docx

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Dr Rachael Sharman

PSY305: Abnormal Psychology Lecture 1 Introduction - Rachael Sharman, T2.06 (email withheld)  consult 11-12pm on Tuesdays - Course taught from “evidence-based” framework What do we mean by Abnormality? - No consensus definition - Common elements, however (eg: suffering, maladaptiveness, deviancy, violation of standards of society, social discomfort, irrationality, unpredictability) - Definition includes element of statistical rarity DSM-IV Definition of Mental Disorder - Clinically significant behavioural or psychological syndrome/pattern - Associated with distress/disability (eg: impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) - Not simply predictable and culturally-sanctioned response to particular event (eg: death of loved one) - Considered to reflect behavioural, psychological or biological dysfunction in individual How Common are Mental Disorders? - Significant for many reasons (eg: planning, establishing and funding mental health services) - Frequency can provide clues to causes (eg: eating disorders more common in certain populations) Prevalence Estimates for Mental Disorders - Lifetime prevalence of having any DSM-IV disorder as high as 50% - Most prevalent category is anxiety disorders, followed by mood disorders - Most common individual disorders are major depressive disorder, alcohol abuse, phobias, conduct disorder - Comorbidity (multiple disorders in same person) high, especially when person has one serious disorder Treatment - Vast majority done in outpatient basis - Not everyone receives - Patients that need inpatient hospitalisation typically admitted to psychiatric units of general hospitals or to private hospitals Research Approaches in Abnormal Psychology - To avoid misconception and error, must adopt scientific attitude and approach to study of abnormal behaviour - Requires focus on research methods including appreciation of distinction between observable and hypothetical/inferred - Case studies, self-report data, observational approaches Case Studies - Specific individual observed and described in detail - Subject to bias of author - Low generalizability Self-Report - Asking participants to provide information - Interviews/questionnaires/surveys Observational Approaches - Collecting information without asking participants directly for it - Outward behaviour observed directly - Biological variables (eg: heart rate) observed via technology Forming and Testing Hypotheses - Anecdotal accounts/observations can help develop hypotheses - Must be tested in well-designed research studies - Generates data (evidence) - Data may lead to development of scientific theory/model of understanding Internal/External Validity - Internal validity: extent to which study is methodologically sound; free of confounds and lead to valid conclusions - External validity: extent to which stud
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