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ab psych text notes .docx

Course Code
Elizabeth Hayden

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Chapter 1
Important features that distinguish most child and adolescent disorders
- When adults seek services for children, often is not clear whose problem it is
- Many children and adolescent problems involve failure to show expected
developmental progress
- Many problem behaviors shown by children and youths are not entirely abnormal
- Interventions for children often are intended to promote further development,
rather than merely to restore a previous level of functioning
- Children used to be considered servants, not people
- Kids with a mental handicap where abandoned or put to death
- Church thought they were possessed by the devil
- Legal acts that allowed people to kill stubborn children
- John Locke began a change believed in individual rights and that children
should be raised with thought and care
- One of first documented situations was Itard working with a kid who was raised in
the woods (Victor)
- Hollingworth - mentally defective children were suffering from emotional and
behavioral problems leading to distinction between imbeciles and lunatics
- Moral insanity grew as a term for nonintellectual forms of abnormal child behavior
- Concern for these disturbances began with 1. Advances in general medicine
- 2. Growing influence of philosophies saying that children need moral guidance
Biological attributions
- Clifford beers (recovered from psychosis) argued that disorders were a disease
- Society went back to the idea that retardation was a disease that could spread
Early psychological attributions
- Recognition of psychological influences emerged in the 20th century
- 2 major theories: psychoanalytic theory and behaviorism (shaping vs resolving)
- Psychoanalytic Freud believed disorders could be traced to early childhood
o Individuals have inborn drives and predispositions, and experience is very
o His daughter Anna was instrumental in expanding his ideas to understand
o Melanie Klein actions can be interpreted in terms of unconscious fantasy
o Is having less influence lately because of the popularity of the descriptive
o Lack of empirical validation, but attracts considerable attention
- Nosologies efforts to classify psychiatric disorders into descriptive categories (like
the DSM) attempt to find common denominators that describe disorders
- Behaviorism evidence-based treatment can be traced to rise of behaviorism
o Early 1900s, Pavlov and conditioning
o Watson and little albert expanded on Freud’s theories in more scientific
o Famous for his theory of emotions give him and healthy child and he can
turn them into whatever he wants by adulthood
Evolving forms of treatment
- 1900s, psychodynamic approaches were the main forms of treatment most kids
with disorders were institutionalized
- Spitz kids raised without adult contact developed severe problems
- 1950s behavior therapy emerged based on operant and classical conditioning
Progressive legislation
- Individuals with disabilities education act (IDEA)

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- Kids must have IEP’s (individual education plans)
- United nations general assembly adopted a convention protecting the rights of
disabled people
Abnormal behaviors in children and adolescents
- People don’t focus enough on disabled individuals strong suits, helps to have
positive support
Defining psychological disorders traditionally been defined as a pattern of behavioral,
cognitive, emotional or physical symptoms shown by an individual
- Associated with one of 3 prominent features
o Person shows distress fear or sadness
o Degree of disability, impairment that limit activity
o Distress and disability increase the risk of further suffering or harm
o Excludes circumstances where reactions are expected
Labels describe behavior, not people
- Often challenged by stigma refers to a cluster of negative attitudes and beliefs
that motivates fear, rejection, and avoidance
- Stigma may lead to diminished self-esteem, isolation and hopelessness
- Hard to draw lines between what is normal or abnormal
- Ability to successfully adapt to the environment
- Reflected in kids ability to use internal and external resources to achieve
adaptation ―successful adaptation‖ varies across cultures
- Developmental tasks tell how children typically progress within each domain
Developmental pathways
- Refers to the sequence and timing of particular behaviors and possible
relationships between behaviors own time visualize development as an active
dynamic process
- Multifinality concept that various outcomes may stem from similar beginnings
- Equifinality concept that similar outcomes stem from different early experiences
and developmental pathways
- Individuals with the same disorder express features of their disturbances in
different ways, pathways leading to each disorder are numerous and interactive
Risk and resilience
- Risk factor a variable that precedes a negative outcome of interest and
increase the chances that the outcome will occur
- Protective factor personal or situational variable that reduces the chances for a
child to develop a disorder
- Risk and protective factors should be thought of as process and not absolutes,
same event or condition can be either
- Kids can survive risky environments by using strong self-confidence and coping
resilience individual children may be resilient in regards to specific stressors but
not others
- Protective triad of resources: strengths of the individual, family and school
Significance of mental health problems
- In 2020, behavioral health disorders will be the major cause of disability
throughout the world
- 1/8 kids has a mental impairment
- Majority of kids with mental health problems don’t get help, many don’t grow out
of it
Changing picture of children’s mental health
- We now can better distinguish between each disorder
- Increased early recognition of disorders more younger kids and teens

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- More recognition of problems like anxiety and depression
- Those disproportionately affected with mental health problems are:
o Children from disadvantaged neighborhoods
o Children from abusive or neglectful families
o Children receiving inadequate child care
o Children born with low birth weight
o Children with parents with mental illness and substance abuse
- New problems changing the face of mental health homelessness, immigrant
families, more working parents, even higher rates of fetal survival
Poverty and socioeconomic disadvantage
- Especially detrimental for learning ability
- Leads to less education, low-paying jobs, inadequate health care, single parents
- May be due to the effect on pre-frontal cortex development stemming from
social inequalities of chronic poverty
- Associated with harsh, inconsistent parenting and exposure to chronic stress
Sex differences
- Girls and boys express problems differently, but we don’t know if it’s due to
definitions, reporting biases, or differences in expression of problems
- Can’t tell differences before age 3, boys show higher rates of early onset, girls
show more emotional disorders
- Internalizing problems anxiety, depression, somatic complaints, withdrawn
- Externalizing problems acting-out behaviors, aggression and delinquency
- Similar rates of internalizing problems in childhood, but girls show more later on
- Resilience in boys associated with a male role model, structure, some
encouragement of emotional expression and rules
- For girls it is combining risk taking and independence with support from a female
Race and ethnicity
- Most cultural anthropologists say race is a socially constructed concept, not
- Once SES is controlled for, almost no differences in rates between cultures
- Majority culture hasn’t incorporated respect for the histories, traditions and beliefs
of other cultures -> disproportionately high level of MD in minorities
- Values, beliefs and practices of a group contribute to the development and
expression of a disorder
- Some disorders with strong neurobiological basis (ex. ADHD) are less susceptible
to cultural influence
Sexual minority
- Mortality rates more than triple between late childhood and early adulthood
- Time in which sexual minority youths face multiple challenges
- LGBT more likely to be victimized by peers and family members have higher
rates of health problems, depression, suicide, substance abuse and risky sex
Lifespan implications
- Most severe when problem goes untreated
- 20% of the most seriously affected kids are likely to drop out of school and have
life long social problems
- Demands on community, health, education and justice system are high
Chapter 2
- Emotional reactivity and expression are the ways in which infants and young
children first communicate with the world around them
- Comfort from caregivers helps them learn self-regulation
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