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Lecture 2

PSY240H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Beck Depression Inventory, Thomas Szasz, Standard Deviation

Course Code
Hywel Morgan

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Abnormal Psych Lecture 2
What is abnormal behaviour (deviates from the statistical norm)?
Statistical criteria  easier to recognize abnormal behaviour than it is to define
 there are behaviours that most people do but the behaviour is still considered
abnormal  taking drugs (caffeine abuse – most common etc.)
 murder is not abnormal…if you have no idea its wrong then that is abnormal
Cultural norms
different ways in expecting to behave
disorders that are recognized in some cultures and not in others  some almost all
cultures recognize eg. Schizophrenia (psychosis - not living in the same reality)
living in disorder  in some religious experiences psychosis as being normal,
sometimes are self induced
content of delusions will differ btn cultures, symptoms, and frequency of
abnormal behaviour is situational defined (dependent upon environment) “Let’s
all get naked”  abnormal and illegal
opublic nudity is completely ok in a locker room but not in front of a class
Developmental norms
there are developmental norms for assessing
oage is very dependent on this
oif a 6 year old hit someone they wouldn’t be taken off in cuffs
there are milestones  by certain ages we are expected to act a certain way
odifferent stages of development for different individuals
Frequency, intensity, duration (most specific and important when diagnosing
abnormal behaviour)
Frequency - how often is this deviating behaviour occurring?
Intensity - How far from the norm is it? (usually one standard deviation, 2 is a
pathology – disordered)
Duration – How long has it been going on? (not the most important for the
diagnoses of everything – depression)
Etiological (how to define and treat) models of abnormal behaviour
1) Medical-disease models – psychiatry uses this model (predominant position)
a. Genetic models – often a strong component to disorders
(DEPRESSION/anxiety) – there isn’t a specific gene often but there does
seen to be a strong genetic component
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b. Biochemical models – neurotransmitters – chemicals that communicate in
the brain (psychiatry)
b.i. Environment  chemistry
c. Neurophysiological models – brain is not working properly in certain
areas  abnormal behaviour, congenital, acquired, genetic  physical
damage or functioning damage (ADHD – part of the frontal)
d. Psychoanalytical model –
Thomas Szasz argued against the medical-disease model
Drugs don’t always work- you shouldn’t mediate for different thoughts are beliefs
Mental illness is a deviation from psychosocial, legal and ethical norms
(homosexuality used to be in the DSM)
After many decades there is only one disease that meds are crucial 
2) Environmental model (domain of psychologists)
Sociocultural models – social and cultural determined of abnormal behaviour :
family, socioeconomic status, where you live and religious affiliation
o#1 environmental factor in becoming mentally ill  STRESS – you may
be genetically predisposed but until stress is invoked wont happen
Learning models – behaviourist tradition – we have learned ways to behave and
ways of thinking that are not good for us  we need to relearn
Humanistic Models – you already have the skills to heel yourself you just haven’t
found the skills to do so yet
Advantages and disadvantages
oAdvantage  you know you are not alone, treatment is now possible – a
selection of a possible treatment can now be made (biggest advantage)
oDisadvantage  there is a lot of overlap, STIGMA  - it becomes a label
that sticks
oDSM – used in North America and some places in Europe – in its
currently in DSM5 but technically there have been 7 edition/version 
changed, elimination, addition – much more general now and more
compatible with ICD and more statistical
oICD – is in version 10, the rest of the world uses it (we also use it) –
mostly compatible with DSM
oClinical vs. empirical system
Clinical  specialists get together to make the system up by
Empirical 
o5 things make up a good classification system
Categories clearly defined
Categories exist and symptoms occur regularly
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Reliability – works every time – interater reliability (multiple ppl
would diagnosis the same way) – test, retest reliability (same
diagnosis at diff times)
Validity – measuring what is meant to be measured (DSM isn’t so
good at this – symptom overlap) – not empirically derived system
Clinical utility – useful in a practical setting
oThe referral – basic details of problem/symptoms are taken down (triage),
a history is also taken  referred to specialist for a formal assessment to
find the root of the problem
oFormal assessment
Observations (5 categories)
Does not require any verbal interaction, you see the way
ppl behave – most simple – we naturally do this
Only observing behaviour at one point in time in a specific
location - you have to be aware of not having an observer
1. General appearance and attire can tell you a lot about
their, physical, social, and personality characteristics –
cleanliness, bruising and scaring – in relation to age, and
socioeconomic status etc.
2. Emotional gestures and facial expressions – body
language is super important – emotion you want to pick up
on most is hostility and anxiety  needs to be addressed
right away
3. Interactions with others – have they been forced to the
4. Gross and fine motor acts – the way one moves is a large
identifier often  neuro, pharma, physio, psycho
5. Verbalization of the client – content, grammar, structure
– just listening tells us a lot about a person’s life and
Interview (Structured, Unstructured) – identify data, personal and
family history
Most useful (questions are asked and a response is given)
Structured – more formal, you don’t miss any information,
rapport doesn’t happen – building a relationship with your
Unstructured – ask questions based on what you think the
clients needs are
oGet to know the client
oThey said this  I should ask this
oYou might miss something important
Testing (Cognitive, personality) – psychological tests
find more resources at
find more resources at