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PSYCH 2AP3 (97)
Chapter 1

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Richard B Day

Psych 2AP3: Abnormal Psychology – Major disorders Chapter 1: Abnormal psychology – An overview Abnormal psychology: an overview - family aggregation: whether a disorder runs in the family What do we mean by abnormal behaviour - no universal agreement about what is abnormality or disorder - no one element of abnormality is sufficient to define or determine abnormality, but the greater the similarity between a given person’s behaviour and the elements of abnormality, the more likely it is that the person is abnormal - changing values and expectations in society, ex.: homosexuality, piercings 1.1Developments in research: do magnets help with repetitive-stress injury - used for chronic hand or wrist pain, repetitive-stress injury (RSI) - Pope and McNally: 3 groups, magnet group, sham group and no-treatment group - Double-blind study: neither the participant nor the experimenter knew who dot the genuine magnets - Placebo treatment conditions: enable experimenters to control for the possibility that believing one is getting an effective type of treatment produces therapeutic benefits - No-treatment control group enables the experimenters to see what happens when they don’t provide any treatment - Magnet therapy works via the placebo effect 1.2The world around us: the elements of abnormality - suffering:  psychological suffering  neither a sufficient condition nor a necessary condition - maladativeness:  interferes with our well-being and with our ability to enjoy our work and relationships - deviancy:  statistically rare and undesirable - violation of the standards of society:  depends on magnitude of the violation and on how commonly it is violated by others - social discomfort:  when someone violates a social rule, those around him or her may experience a sense of discomfort or unease - irrationality and unpredictability:  we expect people to behave in certain ways  our evaluation of whether the person can control their behaviour Why do we need to classify behaviour - most sciences rely on classification: provides us with nomenclature and enable us to structure information in a more helpful manner - allows us to study the different disorders we classify, learn more about the cause and how they can be treated - social and political applications 1.3The world around us: extreme generosity or pathological behaviour - Zell Kravinsky: taken very seriously questions about the nature of our moral obligations to assist people What are the disadvantages of classification - using shorthand leads to loss of information - stigma attached to receiving a psychiatric diagnosis - stereotyping - labeling: person’s self-concept may be directly affected by being given a diagnosis - don’t classify people but the disorder that people have - symptoms: single indicator of a problem involving affect, behaviour or cognition - syndrome: group or cluster of symptoms that occur together The DSM-IV definition of mental disorder - DSM-IV definition of mental disorder:  A clinically significant behavioural or psychological syndrome or pattern  Associated with distress or disability (i.e., impairment in one or more important areas of functioning)  Not simply a predictable and culturally sanctioned response to a particular event (e.g., the death of a loved one)  Considered to reflect behavioural, psychological, or biological dysfunction in the individual - does not refer to the causes of mental disorder, “atheoretical” - rules out behaviours that are culturally sanctioned - asserts that mental disorders are always the product of dysfunctions - DSM definition of mental disorders still has problems - Wakefield’s definition of a mental disorder: a mental disorder is a mental condition that:  Causes significant distress or disability  Is not merely an expectable response to a particular event  Is a manifestation of a mental dysfunction How does culture affect what is considered abnormal - there are many shared beliefs and behaviours that are widely accepted and that form part of customary practice - variation in the way different cultures describe psychological distress Culture specific disorders - taijin kyofusho: form of anxiety disorder prevalent in Japan involving a fear that one’s body, body parts, or body functions may offend others, ex.: blushing - abnormal behaviour: behaviour that deviates from the norms of the society in which it is enacted How common are mental disorders - this information is essential for planning mental health services - estimates of the frequency of mental disorders in different groups of people may provide valuable clues about their causes Prevalence and incidence - epidemiology: the study of the distribution of diseases, disorders, or health- related behaviours in a given population. A key component of an epidemiologic survey is determining the frequencies of mental disorders:  prevalence: refers to the number of active cases in a population during any given period of time. Typically expressed as percentage:  point prevalence: estimated proportion of actual, active cases of the disorder in a given population at any instant in time.  One-year prevalence figure: count everyone who suffers at any time during the whole year  Lifetime prevalence: estimate of how many people suffered frp, a particular disorder at any time in their lives  Incidence: refers to the number of new cases that occur over a given period of time Prevalence estimates for mental disorders - figures from this study underestimate the true prevalence of mental health problems in Canada - important finding from NCS-R study was the widespread occurrence of comorbidity among diagnosed disorders - comorbidity: describes the presence of two or more disorders in the same person - comorbidity is much more likely to occur in people who have the most serious forms of mental disorders Treatment - some may manage to recover on their own - appear to be differences across disorders with respect to treatment-seeking patterns:  difficulty accessing mental health services  people’s attitudes about seeking help  immigrant groups - treated by family physician or as outpatient - hospitalization and inpatient care are the preferred options for people who need more intensive treatment, this treatment has decreased because:  development of medication  developm
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