Textbook Notes (290,000)
CA (170,000)
Western (10,000)
PSYCH (5,000)
PSYCH 1000 (1,000)
Chapter 16

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Personal Distress, Personality Disorder, Big Five Personality Traits

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
John Campbell

This preview shows pages 1-3. to view the full 20 pages of the document.
Jesse Buchman Psychology 1000 Chapter 16 Notes
The Scope and Nature of Psychological Disorders:
Psychological disorders have a major impact on individual and societal well-being
What is “Abnormal”?
Defining what is normal and abnormal is no easy matter, as there are many measures
we could apply
Several possibilities include:
1. The personal values of a given diagnostician
2. The expectations of the culture in which a person currently lives
3. The expectations of the person’s culture of origin
4. General assumptions about human nature
5. Statistical deviation from the norm
6. Harmfulness, suffering, and impairment
Criteria 1 and 5 are not satisfactory bases for judging a person to be disordered
o When criterion 1 is concerned, the diagnosis could depend on arbitrary and
unusual beliefs of the person making the judgments
o When deviation from the norm (5) is concerned, an extremely well-adjusted or
highly intelligent person would be judged abnormal
Criteria 2-4 reflect cultural or even more widespread beliefs about what is appropriate,
so that judgments about what is normal and abnormal can differ based on the time and
the culture
Despite the arbitrariness of time, place and value judgments, three
criteria inherent in criterion 6 distress, dysfunction and deviance
seem to govern decisions about abnormality, and one or more of
them seem to apply to any behavior regarded as abnormal
o We are likely to label behaviors as abnormal if they are
intensely distressing to the individual
People who are excessively anxious, depressed etc.
about themselves or about life circumstances may be
viewed as disturbed
Personal distress however is neither necessary no sufficient to define
o Most behaviors judged abnormal are dysfunctional either for the individual or
for society
Behaviors that interfere with a person’s ability to work or to experience
satisfying relationships with others are likely to be seen as maladaptive
and self-defeating
Some behaviors are labelled as abnormal because they interfere with
the well-being of society
o Third criterion for abnormality is society’s judgments concerning the deviance of
a given behavior
Conduct within every society is regulated by norms behavioral rules
that specify how people are expected to think, feel and behave
Some norms are laws and others are far less explicit
Chapter 16 Psychological Disorders

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Jesse Buchman Psychology 1000 Chapter 16 Notes
People are likely to be viewed as psychologically disturbed if they
violate these unstated norms
Both personal and social judgments of behavior enter into considerations of what is
Abnormal behavior is behavior that is personally distressing, personally dysfunctional,
and/or so culturally deviant that other people judge it to be inappropriate/maladaptive
Historical Perspectives on Deviant Behavior:
Pages of history are filled with accounts of prominent people who suffered
psychological disorders
Throughout history, human societies have explained and responded to abnormal
behavior in different ways at different times, based on their values and assumptions
about human life and behavior
Belief that abnormal behavior is caused by supernatural forces goes back to ancient
Chinese, Egyptians and Hebrews, all of whom attributed deviance to work of the devil
To release an evil spirit, a procedure called trephination was carried out
o A sharp tool was used to chisel a hole 2 cm in diameter in the skull
o Usually eliminated abnormal behavior by killing the person LOL
In medieval Europe, the demonological model of abnormality held that disturbed people
either were possessed involuntarily by the devil or had voluntarily made a pact with the
forces of darkness
o Killing of witches was justified on theological grounds and various “diagnostic”
tests were devised
Hippocrates suggested that mental illnesses were diseases just like physical disorders
o Believed that the site of mental illness was the brain
Biological emphasis was given impetus by the discovery that general paresis, a disorder
characterized in its advanced stages by mental deterioration and bizarre behavior,
resulted from massive brain detoriation caused by the STD syphilis
Freud’s theory of psychanalysis ushered in psychological interpretations of disordered
o Psychodynamic theories of abnormal behavior were soon joined by other
models based on behavioral, cognitive and humanistic concepts
According to the vulnerability-stress model (diathesis-stress model) each of us has some
degree of vulnerability for developing a psychological disorder, given sufficient stress
o Vulnerability can have a biological basis (genotype), unusual activity of a
neurotransmitter, a hair-trigger autonomic nervous system, or a hormonal
Also, could be due to a personality factor, or
environmental factors
Also, could be cultural factors
o In most instances, a predisposition creates a
disorder only when a stressor some recent/current
event that requires a person to cope combines
with the vulnerability to trigger the disorder

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Jesse Buchman Psychology 1000 Chapter 16 Notes
Diagnosing Psychological Disorders:
Classification is a necessary first step toward introducing order into discussions of the
nature, causes and treatment of psychological disorders
Classification system must meet standards of reliability and validity
o Reliability means that clinicians using the system should show high levels of
agreement in their diagnostic decisions
System should be couched in terms of observable behavior that can be
reliably detected and should minimize subjective judgments
o Validity means that the diagnostic categories should accurately capture the
essential features of the various disorders
The DSM-5: Integrating Categorical and Dimensional Approaches
APA has revised the diagnostic system for assessing mental disorders and it was
released as the DSM-5
The DSM-IV-TR was a categorical system, in which people were placed within specific
diagnostic categories
o Highly specific behavioral criteria in the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic categories clearly
have improved reliability over earlier versions
o One trade-off is that the criteria are so detailed and specific that many don’t fit
neatly into the categories
o Does not provide a way of capturing the severity of the person’s disorder, nor
can it capture symptoms that are adaptively important but not severe enough
to meet the behavioral criteria for the disorder
An alternative to the categorical system is a dimensional system, in which relevant
behaviors are rated along a severity measure
o Based on the assumption that psychological
disorders are extensions different in degree,
rather than kind, from normal personality
o Representing individuals along basic
personality or symptom dimensions was
attractive because they believed that such a
system may better represent the uniqueness
of each individual and avoid the one-size-fits-
all disadvantages of being assigned to a
particular diagnostic category
The DSM-5 incorporates dimensional scales that are
used to rate the presence and severity of specific
symptoms and personality characteristics
Different combinations of the personality dimensions
(and their more specific behavioral facets) give rise to
antisocial and borderline personality disorders
Some basic personality dimensions clearly reflect the maladaptive extremes of the traits
in the Five Factor Model of normal personality
One beneficial consequence of the proposed DSM-5 approach to the diagnosis of
personality disorders is that it helps to link normal and abnormal personality functioning
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version