Abnormal Psychology: Chapter 3

Risk factors for abnormal behavior
– necessary, sufficient, and contributory causes
– feedback and bidirectional in abnormal behavior
– diathesis-stress models
the cause, set of causes, or manner of causation of a disease or condition
Necessary cause
must exist for disorder to occur
Sufficient cause
guarantees occurence of disorder
Contributory cause
increases probability of developing disorder; reinforcing contributory cause maintains manipulative behavior that is already occurring
Abnormal behavior: types of causes (3)
– necessary cause: if disorder x occurs, then cause x must have preceded it
– sufficient cause: if cause x occurs, the disorder y will also occur
– contributory cause: if x occurs, the the probability of disorder y increases
-predisposition toward developing a disorder
– relatively distal necessary or contributory cause that is not sufficient to cause disorder
Diathesis stress model
combination of diathesis and stress to cause disorder
is a response of an individual to a taxing demand
ability to successfully adapt to very difficult circumstances
influences that modify person’s response to environmental stressors, making adverse consequences less likely
– can be positive (ex: good attachment to one parent), negative (response to medium amount of stress), or inherent trait in individual
4 categories of biological factors relevant to maladaptive behavior
– Neurotransmitter and hormonal abnormalities
– genetic vulnerabilities
– temperament
– brain dysfunction and neural plasticity
communicate by releasing neurotransmitters into synapse
tiny space between neurons
5 important neurotransmitters
– dopamine
– serotonin
– gultamate
chemical messenger secreted by a set of endocrine glands in our bodies
– can affect the risk of depression and PTSD; sex hormone imbalances can also cause problems
Major glands in the endocrine system
one particular important set of interactions occurs in the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis
total genetic endowment
-what you inherit
– A genotype is an individual’s collection of genes. The term also can refer to the two alleles inherited for a particular gene. The genotype is expressed when the information encoded in the genes’ DNA is used to make protein and RNA molecules.
-The set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.
-observed structural and functional characteristics
– what is expressed (interaction between the genes and the environment)
Genotype – environment correlations
Passive effect
Evoactive effect
Active effect
Passive effect
resulting from genetic similarity of parents and children
Evoactive effect
child’s phenotype may evoke particular kinds of reactions from social and physical environment
Active effect
child seeks out or builds environment that is congenial; niche building
Genotype environment interaction
people with different genotypes may be deferentially sensitive or susceptible to their environments
Methods for studying Genetic influences
-family history method
– twin method
– adoption method
– linkage analysis
– association studies
Family history method
observe samples of relatives and compare incidence rate in family to rate in population
Twin method
compare rates of disorders in identical twins to rate in nonidentical twins
Adoption method
compared adopted offspring with normal biological parents to offspring with biological parents with disorder
Linkage analysis
see if family members with disorder share commonality of trait with known genetic marker. Infer gene location for disorder. best for locating single gene disorders such as Huntington’s
Association studies
compare frequencies in population with and without disorders and compare frequencies of traits with known genetic markers
A child’s reactivity and characteristic ways of self regulation
– earl temperament is basis from which personality develops
– babies show differences in their characteristic emotional and arousal responses to various stimuli and in their tendency to approach, withdraw, or attend to various situations
The 5 dimensions of temperament
– Fearfulness
– Irritability and frustration
– Positive effect
– Activity level
– Attention persistence and effortful control
Impact of biological viewpoint
– Effect on drugs: drugs can dramatically alter the severity and course of certain mental disorders
– Ambiguity in mental disorder definition: what constitutes a medical disorder still rests on subjective opinion
– effect of CNS mediation: effects of events are always mediated through CNS, so biological abnormalities could have psychological causes as well as biological causes
Psychological viewpoints (3)
– Psycho dynamic
– Cognitive behavior
– Behavioral
Psycho-Dynamic perspective
– The ID: source of instinctual drives; operates on pleasure principal
– The Ego: mediates between the demands of the ID and realities of the external world; operates on the reality principle
-The Superego: outgrowth of internalizing taboos and moral values of society; conscience, the concept of anxiety is prominent in the psychoanalytic viewpoint
ego often deals with neurotic or moral anxiety by resorting to ego defense mechanisms
– discharge or soothe anxiety by pushing painful thoughts out of consciousness
Ego defense mechanisms
– Displacement
– Fixation
– Rationalization
– Reaction formation
– Regression
– Repression
– Sublimation
5 Psychosexual stages of development
Oral stage (0-2)
Anal Stage (2-3)
Phallic Stage (3-6)
Latency Stage (6-12)
Genital Stage (after puberty)
* each sage is characterized by a dominant mode of achieving sexual pleasure. Appropriate gratification during each stage is important of a person is to avoid being stuck or fixated
Ego Psychology
develops when the ego does not function adequately to control or delay impulse gratification or does not make adequate use of defense mechanisms when faced with internal conflicts
Object relations theory
the focus on individuals interactions with real and imagined people (External and internal objects) and on the relationships people experience between their external and internal objects
emphasis on social and cultural determinants of behavior
emphasis early experiences with attachment figures as determinant of behavior in adolescence and adulthood
Classical conditioning
if conditioned, stimulus is repeatedly presented without unconditioned stimulus extinction will occur
– it is important for behavioral treatment
Instrumental conditioning
an individual learns how to achieve a desired goal; concept of reinforcement is essential to instrumental conditioning
response is conditioned to one stimulus and can be evoked by other similar stimuli
learning to distinguish between similar stimuli
Observational learning
learning through observation alone without directly experiencing an unconditioned stimulus
Cognitive behavioral perspective
– focuses on how thoughts and information processing become distorted and leads to maladaptive emotions and behavior
underlying representation of knowledge that guides current processing of information
– may be distorted and people may hold on to them strongly making them resistant to change
process of assigning causes to things that happen
Attributional style
Characteristic way in which individual may tend to assign causes to bad or good events
Adoption perspective influences
perception of maladaptive behavior
– types of evidence sought
– data interpretation
Psychological factors
developmental influences that may psychologically handicap person
Causal factors
exemplifying the range of factors that have been studied
Early deprivation or trauma
– depriving essential resources
– institutionalization
– neglect and abuse at home
– separation from parents
Parenting styles (4)
– Authoritative
– Authoritarian
– Permissive
– Neglectful
parents are high on warmth and moderate on control, very careful to set clear limits and restrictions regarding certain kinds of behavior
parents are low on warmth and high on control and often cold and demanding
parents are high on warmth and low on control and discipline
parents are low on warmth and low on control
Increased prevalence of certain disorders may be related to
– prejudice against minority groups and women
– perceived discrimination and self esteem
Urban stressors
rapid urban growth: violence, higher rate of mental illnesses and homelessness

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