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Chapter 5

Chapter 5 covered in week 4 of FALL 2010 semester

Course Code
Konstantine Zakzanis

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SEPT. 27TH. 2010
-SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS: science = pursuit of systematized knowledge through
observation; always imp for scientific obs and explanations to be testable and reliable
-Testability and Replicability: a scientific approach requires 1st that propositions and ideas
be stated in a clear and precise way; statements, theories, and assertions, regardless of
how plausible they may seem, must be testable in the public arena and subject to disproof
-closely related to testability is the requirement that each observation that
contributes to a scientific body of knowledge be replicable or reliable; w/e is
observed must be replicable; that is, it must occur under prescribed circumstances
not once, but repeatedly
-if the event cannot be reproduced, scientists become wary of the legitimacy of the
original observation
-The Role of Theory:
-theory = a formally stated and coherent set of propositions that purport to explain
a range of phenomena, order them in a logical way, and suggest what additional
information might be gleaned under certain conditions; a theory is a set of
propositions meant to explain a class of phenomena
-primary goal of science is to advance theories to account for data, often by
proposing cause-effect relationships; a theory permits the generation of
hypotheses to be tested in research
-hypothesis = the specific prediction about the outcome of an experiment; it is based
on the assumption that the theory in question is accurate; hypotheses are
expectations about what should occur if a theory is true
-the generation of a theory is perhaps the most challenging part of the
scientific enterprise; theories are constructions put together by scientists; in
formulating a theory, scientists must often make use of theoretical concepts,
unobservable states or processes that are inferred from observable data
-a theoretical concept, such as acquired fear, is useful in accounting for the
fact that some earlier experience can have an effect on current behave
-theoretical concepts can be linked to several different measurements, each of
which taps a different facet of the concept
-theoretical concepts are better defined by sets of operations that by a single
-THE RESEARCH METHODS OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY: all empirical research entails
the collection of observable data; there are many research methods in the study of abnormal
behav; the methods vary in the degree to which they permit the collection of adequate descriptive
data and the extent to which they allow researchers to infer causal relationships

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-Case Study: the collection of historical or biographical information on a single individual,
often including experiences in therapy
-a comprehensive case study would cover family history and background, medical
history, educational background, jobs held, marital history, and details concerning
development, adjustment, personality, life course, and current situation
-case studies from practicing clinicians may lack the degree of control and
objectivity of research using other methods, but these descriptive accounts have
played an important role in the study of abnormal behave.
-case studies have been used to:
1. provide a detailed description of a rare or unusual phenomenon and of important,
often novel, methods or procedures of interviewing, diagnosis, and treatment
2. disconfirm allegedly universal aspects of a particular theoretical proposition
3. generate hypotheses that can be tested through controlled research
-Providing Detailed Descriptions: because it deals with a single individual, the case study
can include much more detail than is typically included with other research methods
-Eve White assumed at various times 3 very distinct personalities; she subsequently
claimed to have had 21 separate personalities
-the constant comparative method, which consists of the identification of relevant
units of information (unitizing), placing the units into categories that emerge from
the data (categorizing), and providing organizational themes for the information
(identifying themes)
-The Case Study as Evidence: case histories are especially useful when they negate (prove
something is false) an assumed universal relationship or law
-the case study fares less well as evidence in support of a particular theory or
-case studies do not provide the means for ruling out alternative hypotheses
-Generating Hypotheses: through exposure to the life histories of a great number of
patients, clinicians gain experience in understanding and interpreting them; eventually
they may notice similarities of circumstances and outcomes and formulate important
hypotheses that could not have been uncovered in a more controlled investigation
-to sum up, the case study is an excellent way of examining the behav of a single
individual in great detail and of generating hypotheses that can later be evaluated
by controlled research
-it is useful in clinical settings, where the focus is on just 1 person; but when
general, universal laws are sought to explain phenomena, the case study is of
limited use

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-a case study may not reveal principles characteristic of people in general and is
unable to provide satisfactory evidence concerning cause-effect relationships
-EPIDEMIOLOGICAL RESEARCH: study of the freq and distribution of illness in a population;
in epidemiological research, data are gathered about the rates of a disorder and its possible
correlates in a large sample or population
-this info can then be used to give a general picture of a disorder, how many people it
affects, whether it is more common in men than in women, and whether its occurrence also
varies according to social and cultural factors; epidemiological research focuses on
determining 3 features of a disorder:
1. prevalence the %age of the pop that has the disorder at a given point or period of time
2. incidence the rate at which new cases of the disorder occur in a given place at a given
3. risk factor a condition or variable that, if present, increases the likelihood of
developing the disorder
-knowing the prevalence and incidence rates of various mental disorders and the risk
factors associated with these disorders is important for planning health care facilities and
services for allocating provincial and federal grants for the study of disorder
-knowledge about risk factors can give clues to the causes of disorders
-depression is about 2X as common in women as in men; thus, gender is a risk factor for
-the results of epidemiological research may provide hypotheses that can be more
thoroughly investigated using other research methods
-Early Risk Factors and Psychological Disorders in a Canadian Setting: The Role of Abuse:
-risk factors that are related to mental disorders are: the experience of severe physical or
sexual abuse as a child, a history of parental mental disorder, and failure to graduate from
high school
-people with 2+ disorders are especially disadvantaged, re. to both the healthy group and
the single-disorder group, on all of the theorized risk and socio-demographic factors
-parental mental disorder and severe abuse are the strongest risk factors from among all
of the variables examined
-parental mental disorder the presence of a behavioural or psychological syndrome
in ones mother or father
-severe abuse the traumatic experience of extreme mistreatment by someone else
(eg: childhood sexual abuse)
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