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Western University
Psychology 2310A/B
Rod Martin

Research Methods in Abnormal Psychology ** exam in elborn college room 2468 Final exam scheduled for Friday april 19 2pm Last week con’t Classification and diagnosis  DSM is a work in progress, never really done  Classification system evolves over time and is never perfect DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders  DSM 1 – 1952 – 60 disorders  DSM 2 – 1968 – 145 disorders o Many disorders will be broken up in to 2 or 3 different disorders o Psychoanalytic influence: many problems that people had were not seen as mental disorders at one time o Many people are using the DSM to identify more problems that relate to their field o Vague, descriptions, poor reliability  DSM 3 – 1980 – 200+ disorders o Atheoretical approach: made an effort to describe mental disorders using neutral language without making assumptions about the causes o people from different approaches could use it o More precise diagnostic criteria for better reliability o Multi-axial system  DSM 4 – 1994 – 300+ disorders o Extensive field trials – reliability, validity  DSM 4 TR – 2000 o TR means text revision o Classification stayed the same, description provided of all the disorders was rewritten  DSM 5 is to come out this year DSM 4 TR Definition of a Mental Disorder  A clinically significant behavioural or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual, is associated with present distress or disability (impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or important loss of freedom (prison) o Clinically significant means that the person cannot help themselves or deal with the behavior on their own they need help from family, friends, or professionals o DSM focuses on an individual not a group of people o Distress – person is very unhappy o Disability – ex: mania there is no distress but they are not functional o Work and relationships – if someone is having a lot of difficulty they usually have trouble with work or they are not able to maintain meaningful relationships with other people  Must not be merely an expectable or culturally sanctioned response to an event (ex: death of a loved one)  Must be considered a manifestation of a behavioural, psychological, or biological dysfunction; in most cases it‟s a little bit of everything  Not just deviant behavior (political, religious, sexual)  Not just a conflict between individual and society  When diagnosing we are classifying disorders not people o Person with schizophrenia, not schizophrenic  DSM recognizes that there are „fuzzy‟ boundaries of categories and that there are variability between people within a category Criticisms of DSM  Categorical vs dimensional issue o You either have it or you don‟t – categorical o Through dimensional system you still have make a distinction as to whether the person needs treatment or not  Heterogeneity within groups o Polythetic approach to disgnosis o Many people are similar to each other as far as symptoms go  Gender bias o Some disorders are more likely to be diagnosed in men than women or women than men  Cultural bias o Some things that we look at as deviant is normal in other cultures  Reliability o Overlap of categories o Axis 2 disorders less reliable  „inventing‟ new diagnoses o Eg: selective eating disorder; very picky eaters o Talking about adding video game addiction Research Questions in Abnormal Psychology Description  Descriptive questions: how many people have this disorder? Symptomatology - what is involved in this disorder? Epidemiology – how many people have this problem? Etiology – what are the causes of this disorder? Treatment – how can we help people who have this problem? Epidemiological Research Large-scale surveys of the general population Incidence – number of new cases of a disorder in a year Prevalence – frequency of a disorder at a given point in time Lifetime Prevalence – proportion of the population who meet criteria for diagnosis at some point in their life Risk factors, mediators, moderators(might make disorder more or less severe in a certain individual) The Case Study  Used when diagnosing or developing a new treatment of a particular disorder Uses of Case Studies Generate hypotheses for further research Challenge theoretical assumptions Demonstrate new therapy techniques Detailed description of rare phenomena Limitations of Case Studies Low Internal Validity Selectivity of memory – observer bias Subjective evidence Insufficient evidence of causality – c
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