Psychology Chapter 14
Abnormal behaviours: Myths, Realities, and Controversies
Medical Model applied to abnormal behaviour:
The medical model: proposes that it is useful to think of abnormal behaviour as a
Refers to mental illness, psychological disorder, and psychopathology.
Middle ages people with these disorders were thought to have a demon in them,
and were “treated” with chants, and rituals.
Thomas Szasz: abnormal behaviour usually involves a deviation from social
norms rather than an illness.
Diagnosis: involves distinguishing one illness from another
Etiology: refers to the apparent causation and developmental history of an illness.
Prognosis: is a forecast about the probable course of an illness.
Criteria of abnormal behaviour:
1. Deviance: people are said to have a disorder because their behaviour deviates
from what their society considers acceptable. Transvestic fetishism: when a man
gets aroused by dressing in women’s clothing.
2. Maladaptive behaviour: people are appeared to have a disorder because their
everyday adaptive behaviour is impaired. This criterion goes to people where
drugs may interfere with social interactions.
3. Personal distress: Psychological disorders are based on an individuals report of
great personal distress. This criterion is for people who are troubled with
Stereotypes of psychological disorders:
1. Psychological disorders are incurable.
2. People with psychological disorders are often violent and dangerous
3. People with psychological disorders behave in bizarre ways and are very different
from normal people.
Psychodiagnosis: Classification of disorders
American Psychiatric Association’s: Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental
Consists of 5 axis levels:
Axis 1: Clinical syndromes (Substance abuse, mood and eating disorder)
Axis 2: Personality disorders or Mental retardation
Axis 3: General medical conditions
Axis 4: Psychosocial and Environmental problems Axis 5: Global assessment of functioning scale (GAF)
Comorbidity: the coexistence of two or more disorders.
The prevalence of psychological disorders:
Epidemiology: the study of the distribution of mental or physical disorders in a
Prevalence: refers to the percentage of a population that exhibits a disorder during
a specified time period.
Anxiety disorders: are a class of disorders marked by feelings of excessive
apprehension and anxiety.
5 types of anxiety disorders: Generalized, phobic disorder, panic disorder and
agoraphobia, obsessivecompulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder: marked by a chronic, high level of anxiety that is not tied to
any specific threat.
People worry about yesterday’s mistakes and tomorrow’s problems.
Also worry about minor issues with family, and finances.
Phobic disorder: marked by a persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that
presents no realistic danger.
Peoples fears interfere with everyday behaviour
Acrophobia: fear of heights
Brontophobia: fear of storms
Panic disorder and agoraphobia:
Panic disorder: characterized by recurrent attacks of overwhelming anxiety that
usually occur suddenly and unexpectedly.
Agoraphobia: is a fear of going out to public places.
People become confined to their houses due to this
ObsessiveCompulsive disorder: is marked by persistent, uncontrollable intrusions of
unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage in senseless rituals (compulsions).
PostTraumatic stress disorder:
People get this with rape, assault, severe automobile accidents, a natural disaster,
or witnessing someone’s death.
78% of people have suffered from PTSD
Etiology of anxiety disorders:
Concordance rates: indicates the percentage of twin pairs or other pairs of
relatives who exhibit the same disorder Inhibited temperament: characterized by shyness, timidity, and wariness.
Many phobias caused by classical conditioning
Example: A child is buried under snow by an avalanche, when she becomes an
adult she may be afraid of snow.
Some people are more likely to suffer from anxiety if: A) misinterpret harmless
situations as threatening, B) Focus excessive attention on perceived threats, C)
Selectively recall information that seems threatening.
Cognitive theorists maintain that certain styles of thinking, especially a tendency
to over interpret harmless situations as threatening, make people more vulnerable
Dissociative disorders: are classes of disorders in which people lose contact with
portions of their consciousness or memory, resulting in disruptions in their sense of
Three types of dissociative disorders:
1) Dissociative amnesia: is a sudden loss of memory for important personal
information that is too extensive to be due to normal forgetting.
2) Dissociative fugue: people lose their memory for their entire lives along with their
sense of personal identity.
3) Dissociative identity disorder: involves the coexistence in one person of two or
more largely complete, and usually