PSYB01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Major Depressive Episode, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder

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PSYB01 – Chapter 4
Conceptualization and Measurement
Measuring Mental Health and Mental Illness
- mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness but
something more positive
- you might think of mental health and mental illness as two
separate categories
owhat are the characteristics of a mentally healthy person?
ois complete mental health more then the absence of
mental illness?
Developing and Defining Constructs
- you carry these questions into a psychological theory – specifies
the conceptual meaning of key terms and it identifies how
variables are to be measured or operationalized
- provides a conceptual framework that links theoretical idea to
concrete variables and their measurements are chosen
Theoretical Constructs
- a theory unites concepts with their corresponding variables and
their distinct forms of measurements
- in a scientific theory, abstract concepts are formally referred to
as constructs – a specified theory in order to describe, explain,
and predict a wide range of related empirical findings
- ex. Intelligence, memory, anxiety etc. ( cannot be directly
observed – can be measured by collected data from multiple
instruments, such as physiological recordings, behaviour rating
Operational Definitions of Constructs
- a construct has to be translated into a operational definition
- an operational defn provides a recipe for specifying variables
that are to be be used to measure a construct
- an operational definition of construct is not limited to specifying
hot to measure it (dependant variable)– also spells out the
conditions under which a construct Is expected to occur
(independent variable)
- Bushman and Baumeister (1998)
oInvestigated conditions that produce interpersonal violence
oInterpersonal violence represents the construct
oWhat dependant variable could be used to measure the
effect of a lab task on interpersonal violence?
- the study began with the participants having to write essays
about their opinions on abortion
- the essays were randomly marked good or bad
- the participants then played a reaction time test with the person
that marked their test and regardless of whether they had been
insulted or praised on their essays they always won
- they then had the opportunity to blast their opponent with a loud
noise – ( there was no actual opponent, noone received the blast
– like Milgrams)
- the level of noise blasted was a direct measure of the
interpersonal violence
- this was called staged manipulation
othe essay was meant to either anger atleast half of the
othey were also told that their opponent in the game was
the person that marked their essay
oinsulted parties would respond aggressively in competitive
game against a person they believe had offended them
- the staged manipulation served as the independent variable with
the purpose of trying to insult their participants
- the dependant variable measured the level of noise that the
participant delivered to their opponent
- B&B also had their participants take a narcissm pencil and paper
othey theorized that a person with high scores would be
more aggressive towards the person that had insulted
operceived threat links the independent variable of narcissm
to the dependant variable of level of aggressive response
toward the offender
othe perceived threat is known as the intervening variable –
they help to link independent with dependant variables
- Summary: the structure of scientific theory beings with
constructs that are translated or operationalized into
independent and dependant variables
Building Constructs
- positive psychology seeks to learn about human thriving,
flourishing, optimism, joy and capabilities
oprovides a framework for studying attitudes, actions and
- through positive psychology we can flesh out the meaning of two
constructs, mental health and mental illness
- mental health is theorized as an enduring sense of well-being
and happiness that a person regularly experiences in life
- both are necessary in order to establish the presence of a
diagnosable mental disorder – one component is the symptoms
and whether they have interfered with aspects of everyday
- used several methods of measurement that served as operation
oasked people to rate how frequently they felt six different
positive states: cheerful, in good spirits, extremely happy,
calm and peaceful, satisfied, full of life
oalso asked in the form of behaviour related activities of
daily life, such as things that can be limited by health, like
lifting groceries, climbing stairs, walking a mile
oasked about missed days of work due to mental illness
oKeyes identified 4 different forms of mental illness
Major depressive episode
Generalized anxiety disorder
Panic disorder
Alcohol dependence during the past 12 month
- mental illness and mental health were inferred from related sets
of behaviours, emotions, attitudes and experiences
- used two different forms of measurement: self-report ratings of
everyday feeling and activities as well as DSM diagnostic
interviews through the telephone
Measurement of Psychological Constructs
- measurement is defined as the assignment of numerals to
objects or events according to some objective rule
- these objects or events are variables, which we select as
indicators to measure a given construct
- ex. With the construct of anxiety you have three different
oa galvanic skin response to measure the physical aspects
of anxiety
oa self-report measure of anxiety
oa rating scale that trained individuals complete after
watching a set of interviews
Advantages of Multiple Methods
- make sure that the variables that are chosen stay consistent with
the research question
- Keyes used two kinds of measurement: self-report and interview
- They provided him with enough data to group participants into 5
oMental illness and languishing
oPure mental illness
oPure languishing
oModerate mental health