Abnormal Psychology Midterm
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What makes defining abnormality difficult?
There's no universal agreement or consensus definition
What is a sufficient element to determine abnormality?
How do the values of a society affect what is defined as abnormal?
one of the defining factors of abnormality is when a person "violates standards of society." If they are behaving in a way that is "normal" for a particular society, it's not abnormal in that particular society . . . but it could be somewhere else.
There are also culture-specific psychopathologies
A person injects himself with pain killers. This has greatly increased his chance of overdosing and dying. His behavior harms no one else. According to the DSM-5, is this behavior consistent with the definition of a mental disorder?
Yes; because he is persistently (and in this case, knowingly) acting in a way that is detrimental to his well-being
In the field of abnormal psychology, what does DSM stand for?
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
What are the reasons for classifying mental disorders?
1. Provide nomenclature that allows information structuring
2. Makes disorders "easier" to study and understand
3. Insurance reimbursement
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a classification system for mental disorders?
- 1. Provide nomenclature that allows information structuring
- 2. Makes disorders "easier" to study and understand
- 3. Insurance reimbursement
- 1. Loss of individual information: person becomes the disorder
- 2. Labeling (stereotyping/stigma)
- 3. Self-concept impact: person may see themselves differently after diagnosed w/ mental illness
Stereotyping is an example of the stigma of mental illness. It is defined as?
the automatic and often incorrect beliefs people have about people with mental illness
Abnormal behavior is defined as?
maladaptive behavior that is detrimental to an individual or group
Why is it important to know how many people have diagnosable mental illnesses?
planning, establishing, and funding mental health services for specific disorders
providing clues to causes of mental disorders
What is epidemiology?
the study of distribution of diseases, disorders, or health-related behaviors in a given population
Comorbidity is defined as?
the presence of two or more disorders in the same individual
Archaeology and early writing indicated that who thought that the brain was the site of mental functions?
the Egyptians (16th century B.C.)
In ancient societies, if a person's abnormal conduct consisted of speech that appeared to have a religious or mystical significance, then the person was considered?
to be possessed by a good spirit or god; and were treated with awe and respect
According to Hippocrates, mental disorders were part of which three general categories?
- 1. mania
- 2. melancholia
- 3. phrenitis (brain fever)
The doctrine of the four humors explained?
According to early beliefs, what would characterize an individual with an excess of blood?
they would have a temperament that is optimistic, cheerful, and unafraid
Hippocrates suggested marriage was a cure for?
What did Aristotle believe about the causation of mental disorders?
disturbances in the bile
What is "mass madness"?
the widespread occurrence of group behavior disorders that were apparently causes of hyteria
The disorder Koro, where males fear that their genitals have retracted into their body, possibly leading to death, is similar to the episodes of mass madness during the Black Death because?
both were thought to be experiencing the results of magic
What was the most common treatment for mental illness during the Middle Ages in Europe?
prayer, holy water, sanctified ointments, the breath/spittle of the priests, the touching of relics, visits to holy places, mild forms of exorcisms
Who was one of the first physicians in the early 1500s to criticize the idea that mental illness was due to demon possession (although he did believe the moon influenced the brain)?
What did Philippe Pinel believe about mental illness?
mental patients should be treated with kindness and consideration - as sick people not wild beasts
Who is considered the founder of American psychiatry?
Which book publicize the plight of the mentally ill in the mid 1940s?
The Snake Pit - Mary Jane Ward
The rationale behind deinstitutionalization was?
that it would provide more integrated and humane treatment than was available in the "isolated" environment of psychiatric hospital and because of the success of medications to alleviate psychotic symptoms
Prevalence refers to?
in a population, the proportion of active cases of a disorder that can be identified at a given point in time or during a given time period
What is etiology?
factors that are related to the development (cause) of a particular disorder
What is are risk factors?
variables correlated with an abnormal outcome
What is a necessary cause?
a condition that must exist for a disorder to occur
What is a sufficient cause?
a condition that guarantees the occurrence of a disorder
What is a contributory cause?
a condition that increases the probability of a disorder
What is the definition of bi-directionality in terms of mental illness?
there can be two-way (bi-directional) influences: effects can serve as feedback that can in turn influence the causes
A predisposition toward developing a disorder is defined as?
What is a steeling or inoculation effect of stressful experiences?
sometimes exposure to stressful experiences that are dealt with successfully can promote a sense of self-confidence/esteem and thereby serve as a protective factor; thus some (moderate) stressors paradoxically promote coping.
When psychologists say that a person shows resilience, it means that?
they have the ability to adapt successfully to even very difficult circumstances
What is a biopsychosocial viewpoint of psychopathology?
a viewpoint that acknowledges that biological, psychological, and sociological factors all interact and play a role in psychopathology and treatment
The site of communication between two neurons is called the?
Which 5 neurotransmitters are involved in psychopathology?
- 1. Norepinephrine
- 2. Dopamine
- 3. Serotonin
- 4. Glutamate
- 5. Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)
Tracy and Shahid are both 3 months old. Tracy is highly active, easily irritated, and cries easily. Shahid is quiet, adapts easily to change, and seems fearless. These differences illustrate which psychological trait?
Neural plasticity is defined as?
flexibility of the brain in making changes in organization and/or function in response to environmental and life experiences
Which perspective or viewpoint focuses on intrapsychic conflicts as the cause of psychopathology?
Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory
Which symptom did Freud believe played a causal role in the development of most forms of psychopathology?
What are Freud’s 8 defense mechanisms?
- 1. Displacement
- 2. Fixation
- 3. Projection
- 4. Rationalization
- 5. Reaction Formation
- 6. Regression
- 7. Repression
- 8. Sublimination
Alicia developed a fear of spiders after being bitten by one. However, she has no problems looking at pictures of spiders. This is an example of what behavioral principle?
From the cognitive-behavioral perspective, what are some important limitations with the behavioral perspective?
a failure to attend to the importance of mental processes
Psychological assessment is defined as:
a procedure by which clinicians, using psychological tests, observation, and interviews, develop a summary of the client's symptoms and problems
What role does the social context play in psychological assessment?
it's important to assess the social context in which the individual functions
What is “reliability” in terms of test construction?
describes the degree to which an assessment measure produces the same result each time it is used to evaluate the same thing
What is “validity” in terms of test construction?
the extent to which a measuring instrument actually measures what it is supposed to measure
Psychological test results are often compared to each other to determine a mid-range, or normal point. In order to accomplish this, test administration must be completely consistent from one person to the next. What is this process called?
A person suffered a head injury in a car accident. He is referred to a psychologist to see what types of impairment now exist and to get some suggestions for treatment. The best assessment strategy would be?
a neuropsychological assessment
Because diagnostic reliability is of great concern in research, which type of interview is best recommended?
structured assessment interview
What are the advantages of standardized psychological tests?
the results are far more reliable and fair (they are given in the same manor to all participants) with more validity
What are some examples of projective tests?
1. Rorschach Inkblot Test
2. Thematic Apperception Test
3. Sentence Completion Test
Several clinicians look at the TAT results of a hospitalized patient. The patient described the characters on the card as not speaking to each other. One clinician says this means the patient has a lot of unresolved anger. Another says it means the patient has a lot of social anxiety. The third says he thinks it means the patient is uninterested in people and prefers to be alone. This demonstrates what following problem with projective tests?
interpretations are subjective, unreliable, and difficult to validate
The MMPI is designed to measure?
Criticisms of diagnostic labels are that they?
neither describe a person nor any underlying pathological condition ("dysfunction") the person necessarily harbors but, rather, some behavioral pattern associated with that person's current level of functioning
Neurotic behavior is defined as?
anxiety-driven, exaggerated use of avoidance behaviors and defense mechanisms
Fear is a basic emotion that includes?
activation of the "fight-or-flight" response of the autonomic nervous system
What are the typical symptoms of a panic attack?
chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, sweating, dizziness, nausea
What are the five primary types of anxiety disorders recognized in the DSM-5?
- 1. Specific Phobia
- 2. Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
- 3. Panic Disorder
- 4. Agoraphobia
- 5. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Gradual exposure to feared cues is commonly used to treat?
Why do people with phobias continue to avoid the thing they fear?
because both the phobic response itself is so unpleasant and because of the phobic person's irrational appraisal of the likelihood that something terrible will happen
Which phobias are more common in children?
animal, blood-injection-injury, and dental
A young child stepped on a bee and was stung. Since that time, she has been terrified of flying insects and runs away if she sees any. What form of learning is this?
direct traumatic conditioning
It is fairly easy to condition monkeys and humans to fear snakes but almost impossible to condition either to fear a flower. This supports which theory of phobias?
What are the best treatments for phobias?
Specific Phobias: exposure therapy
Social Phobias: (cognitive)-behavior therapy
What do cognitive approaches to social phobia focus on?
Panic disorders are often misdiagnosed due to what?
the normal results on numerous costly medical tests. Also, cardiac patients are nearly twice as much at risk for developing panic disorder
A woman tells her psychologist, "I cannot leave a certain region around my home without having terrible fears. I am terribly worried when I am in a car or bus. I am afraid I will have another one of those terrifying experiences." What disorder does she probably have and what experience is she talking about?
She is describing Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia; and the terrifying experiences are panic attacks
Which brain structure is recognized as playing a central role in panic attacks?
Which class of drugs is most often prescribed for panic attacks?
anxiolytics from the benzodiazepine category
A client feels anxious almost all the time. She finds herself worrying that her husband will leave her (although he has never shown any indication that he would), that she chose the wrong job, that her children might not be safe at their school, and that she might get sick and leave her family in financial ruin. She calls her husband almost every day to find out when he will be home. She complains to her physician that she is always tired but cannot sleep or relax. Her most likely diagnosis is:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Persistent and recurrent thoughts are defined as?
A client believes that it is extremely important to be clean. She cleans her kitchen and bathroom daily and the rest of the house at least once every few days. She uses antibacterial soap and sterile water to clean. She says she wants people to be able to eat off her floors. She is very proud of her house and the way she keeps it. What disorder, if any, might she be suffering from?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder ... although she sounds pretty normal to me - just a "neat freak"
What are the most common types of obsessions seen in OCD?
contamination, harming oneself or others, and pathological doubt
What do all of the compulsions seen in OCD have in common?
they are performed with the goal of preventing or reducing anxiety/distress
they are performed repeatedly and/or for excessive periods of time
What do all mood disorders have in common?
extremes of emotion (or affect) dominate the clinical picture - the abnormal mood is the defining feature
What are the two key moods involved in mood disorders?
1. soaring elation
2. deep depression
"Postpartum blues" are defined as?
changeable mood, crying easily, sadness, irritability, often liberally intermixed with happy feelings
How does persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) compare to major depressive disorder?
It is known for its chronicity and is generally considered to be of mild to moderate intensity. It is also not interwoven with periods of normal mood.
A client came to her therapist complaining that she just doesn't enjoy life lately. She says that for the past couple of months, she finds she just doesn't feel like doing the things that she used to love to do. She has also lost a lot of weight and sleeps much more than usual but still feels tired all the time. She says she just can't concentrate on anything. However, she denies feeling sad. Her most likely diagnosis is?
Major Depressive Disorder
What is meant by the phrase "double depression"?
when Major Depressive Disorder exists with dysthymia
A recurrent depressive episode is defined as?
What does research on the role of genetic influences in unipolar disorder show?
a strong case for a moderate genetic contribution to the causal patterns of unipolar major depression
The fact that bright light may be an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder might suggest that?
it may work by reestablishing normal biological rhythms
Freud suggested that depression was caused by?
loss (real or symbolic)
Beck's negative cognitive triad is defined as?
negative thoughts about the self, the world, and the future
No matter what prisoners try to do, they cannot escape. Eventually, they become passive and depressed. This illustrates the central idea in what theory of depression?
Learned Helplessness/ Hopelessness Theory
John and Ira eat dinner together after work. Several hours later, each starts to feel nausea and stomach pains. John is a hypochondriac, Ira is not. How will each describe their symptoms?
John: "I'm going to die! It must be cancer."
Ira: "I think we have food poisoning."
Sara notices a lump in her breast. She goes to her physician because she is worried that it is cancer. The physician sends her for a biopsy. During the three weeks between first noticing the lump and getting her results that it is not cancer, Sara was almost unable to function. She felt constant anxiety and thought constantly about having cancer. After she found out that she did not have cancer, Sara felt much better. Does Sara have a mental disorder? Why or Why not?
No. She had a legitimate reason to worry and stopped as soon as she realized that she was alright
According to the revisions made for the DSM-5, most people previously diagnosed with ______________ will be diagnosed with complex somatic symptom disorder.
How do somatization disorder and hypochondriasis differ?
Those with hypochondriasis also often suffer from mood disorders, panic disorder, or other somatic symptom disorder.
People with somatization disorder will report many different physical complaints that ultimately lead to medical treatment and/or significant life impairment
A lack of concern about a physical disability is characteristic of individuals with which disorder?
la belle indiffèrence
Conversion Disorder (Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder
What is a pseudoseizure?
seizures that do not show any EEG abnormalities and do not show confusion and loss of memory afterward
often show excessive thrashing about and writhing, they rarely injure themselves in falls, or lose control over their bowels or bladder - as is common in true seizures
A nurse in an emergency room sees many illnesses and reported illnesses. A group of psychology students are listening to her speak and one asks her what might be one way to tell the difference between a conversion disorder and a true organic disturbance. What would be a valid answer?
1. the frequent failure of the dysfunction to conform clearly to the symptoms of the particular disease/disorder being simulated
2. The selective nature of the dysfunction
3. Under hypnosis or narcosis, the symptoms can usually be removed, shifted, or re-induced at the suggestion of the therapist
4. If suddenly awakened from a sound sleep, they may "suddenly" be able to use a "paralyzed" limb
After learning of her father's death, Sophia felt dazed and confused but still retained her sense of self. When speaking of her response to the news, she said she felt like she was in a movie watching the events happening to her. Despite this strange feeling, she understood what was happening and did the things that she needed to do. What can be said of Sophia's response to her father's death?
In soap operas, characters often forget their past experience following some trauma. They don't merely forget the traumatic event, they forget who they are, where they came from - they lose almost all memory of their lives. They then move to a new place and start a new identity. This would best be described as an instance of what disorder?
Why has the term "multiple personality disorder" been replaced with "dissociative identity disorder"?
because of the growing recognition that it had misleading connotations, suggesting multiple occupancy of space, time, and people's bodies by differing, but fully organized and coherent, "personalities."
Alters are not, in any meaningful sense, personalities, but rather reflect a failure to integrate various aspects of a person's identity, consciousness, and memory.
A recent in-depth study by Lewis and colleagues of 12 convicted murderers diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder looked into their backgrounds. The study found strong evidence of what?
a correlation between sever abuse in childhood and DID; but it was significantly flawed and therefore highly inconclusive
The treatment goal for most therapists who treat dissociative identity disorder is to?
integrate the personalities into one identity that is better able to cope with current stressors
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