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Abnormal Psychology Study Guide 1

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What are the main indicators of abnormal behavior or mental disorders? Be able to define and provide an example of each of these seven indicators. Does a person need to show all of these indicators to receive a mental disorder diagnosis?
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Subjective distress – suffer or experience psychological pain, maladaptiveness- a person with anorexia might become so emaciated they need to be hospitalized, statistical deviancy- statistically rare behavior, violation of the standards of society- when people fail to follow the conventional social and moral values of their society, social discomfort- when someone violates a social rule those around him may experience a sense of discomfort, irrationality and unpredictability- if a person next to you began to scream at nothing, dangerousness- danger to themselves or others
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What is the DSM-5?
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Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders; standard for defining various types of mental disorders
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of classification?
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Advantage: gives you an answer to your problem, good for insurance purposes Negative: might not look at the big picture, stereotypes involved
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In what ways can culture shape the clinical presentation of mental disorders?
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There are differences between cultures of what is considered socially acceptable or not, and also might be differences in the way cultures articulate distress
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How common are mental disorders?
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1 year prevalence of any disorder is 26.2% and lifetime prevalence of any disorder is 46.4%
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Which mental disorders are most prevalent in the United States?
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Major depressive disorder, anxiety, alcohol abuse, phobias
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Know the difference between prevalence and incidence.
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Prevalence- the number of active cases in a population during any given period of time; incidence- the number of new cases that occur over a given period of time (typically one year)
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Define comorbidity
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The presence of two or more disorders in the same person; especially high in people with severe forms of mental disorders
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Understand the nomothetic/ideographic distinction.
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Nomothetic- a symptom shared by all individuals with a disorder; ideographic – a unique symptom that an individual with a disorder has
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What is the difference between effect size and significance?
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Statistical significance means that the probability that the correlation would occur simply by chance is less than 5 out of 100; the fact that statistical significance is influenced by sample size creates a problem when we want to compare results across different studies; to compare results across studies researchers can use effect size, which is the size of the association between two variables independent of the sample size; if the effect size is about the same size for two different studies, that means that had similar results even if the results were significant in one study but not the other
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What are the two necessary conditions needed to establish a cause?
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…The variables must be related (if X then Y, if no X then no Y), there must be no alternative explanations, and also noted that the independent variable should happen before the dependent variable in order for it to be considered a cause of it
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Define both internal and external validity
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From a research perspective, the more representative a sample is, the better able we are to generalize to the larger group. The extent to which we can generalize our findings beyond the study itself is called external validity; internal validity reflects how confident we can be in the results of a particular given study
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Define what “double-blind” means in the context of an experimental design
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Neither the subjects or the experimenter knows which group received treatment and which group received a placebo
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How has abnormal behavior been viewed throughout history?
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Mental disorders were were thought to be caused from supernatural explanations rather than through knowledge of natural causes; demonic possession
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What was the primary treatment for demonic possession? Is this treatment still used today?
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Exorcism and trepanation; no it is not used today in mental health
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What effect did Hippocrates have on abnormal psychology?
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460 BCE – 370 BCE Balance of bodily humors (black bile, yellow bile, blood, phlegm) was the source of illness (including mental illness); key point: shifted hypothesized cause of psychopathology from the natural world to the individual; nature does not = psychopathology
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What is mass madness or mass hysteria?
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A widespread occurrence of group behavior disorders that were apparently cases of hysteria; whole groups of people were affected simultaneously; one espisode occured in Italy in the thirteenth century known as tarantism- a disorder that included an uncontrollable impulse to dance that was often attributed to the bite of the southern European tarantula; isolated rural areas were afflicted with outbreaks of Iycanythropy when people believed they were possessed by wolves and imitated their behavior
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Be able to describe the conditions of early asylums in America.
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Essentially prisons, sometimes patients put on display to the public for money, treated more like beasts than humans, the Public Hospital in Williamsburg, VA was the first hospital made exclusive for patients with mental illness in the US, treatments were aggressive and aimed at restoring a physical balance in the body through powerful drugs, water treatments, bleeding, blistering, electrical shocks, and physical restraints
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What effect did the emergence of humanism have on the treatment of mental disorders? Specifically, be able to briefly discuss the contributions of Philippe Pinel, William Tuke, and Benjamin Rush.
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Pinel- first person to “unshackle” patients, he provided sunny rooms and treated patients with kindness and the effect was very positive, France Tuke – England, created the York Retreat- a pleasant country home for patients lived, worked, and rested in a religious atmosphere Rush- United States, wrote the first systematic treatise on psychiatry in america and was the first American to organize a course in psychology, although his medical theory was still tainted with astrology and he focused treatments on bloodletting and purgatives
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What was the mental hygiene movement?
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A method of treatment that focused primarily on the physical well-being of hospitalized patients but received no help for their mental problems
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What was Dorothea Dix’s role in the mental hygiene movement?
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Through her efforts millions of dollars were raised to build suitable hospitals, directed the opening of two institutions in Canada and completely reformed the asylum system in Scotland and several other countries; credited with establishing 32 mental hospitals
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Name two main reasons why, in the late 20th century, care for people with chronic mental illness shifted from inpatient hospitals and institutions to outpatient and community-based treatment.
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An attempt to be humane and cost effective
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Discuss the pros and cons of deinstitutionalization. What were the goals, and what have been the unintended outcomes?
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Pros of institutionalization: around other people, keeps people taken care of rather than in the streets or jail; Pros of deinstitutionalization: living skills and quality of life improved after discharge, patients no longer depended completely on professionals to take care of them; Cons of deinstitutionalization: most symptoms and living problems remained unchanged, chronic patients were “abandoned” and subjected to a harsh existence; unintended outcomes: more focus on brief treatment rather than institution for life, homelessness, jails (page 47)
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Name the key differences between Sigmund Freud and John B. Watson
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Freud is focused on the unconscious below the surface while Watson is known for behaviorism and believes that he can train anything through the idea of cause and effect
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Define behaviorism, classical conditioning, and operant conditioning
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Behaviorism- developed by Watson to study overt behavior rather than theoretical mental constructs, all behavior is learned Classical conditioning – a form of learning in which a neutral stimulus is paired repeatedly with an unconditioned stimulus that naturally elicits an unconditioned behavior; after repeated pairings, the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus that elicits a conditioned response Operant conditioning – “instrumental conditioning”; giving or taking away reinforcement; either positive or negative; determines the likelihood of whether or not a behavior will be repeated on similar occasions (Skinner)
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Why is Little Albert famous in psychology history?
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Little Albert is the child that was classically conditioned to be afraid of bunnies/white fluffy things
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Define etiology.
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the cause, set of causes, or manner of causation of a disease or condition.
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Define necessary cause, sufficient cause, and contributory cause. Know an example of each.
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Necessary cause – (X) is a characteristic that must exist for a disorder (Y) to occur; for ex. General pareis (Y) cannot develop unless a person has previously contracted syphillis (X) Sufficient cause- a conditions that guarantees the occurrence of a disorder ex. Hopelessness (X) is a sufficient cause of depression (Y) Contributory causes- one that increases the probability of a disorder developing but is neither necessary nor sufficient for the disorder to occur ex. Parental rejection could increase the probability that a child will later have difficulty in handling close personal relationships so parental rejection could be a contributory cause for the person’s later difficulties
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What is the difference between distal causal factors and proximal causal factors?
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Distal- occur relatively early in life and may not show effects for many years; proximal- factors that operate shortly before the occurrence of the symptoms of a disorder
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Be able to briefly explain the bidirectional relationships in abnormal behavior.
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Sometimes its difficult to tell what is a cause and what is effect because effects can serve as feedback that can in turn influence the causes; two-way relationship
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What is the diathesis-stress model of abnormal behavior? Know the difference between an additive model vs. an interactive model.
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The type of situation where a mental disorder is thought to develop when someone who has a preexisting vulnerability for a disorder experiences a major stressor Additive model- the diathesis and stress sum together when one is high and one is low ex. Someone with a low level of diathesis would need a high amount of stress to develop a disorder Interactive model- some amount of diathesis must be present before the stress will have any effect; someone who has no diathesis will never develop the disorder no matter how much stress occurs whereas someone with diathesis will develop increasing likelihood to develop the disorder as stress increases
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Define protective factors. Are protective factors always positive experiences?
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In contrast to risk factors that increase negative outcomes, protective factors decrease the likelihood of negative outcomes of those at risk; does not need to be positive because sometimes exposure to stressful experiences that are dealt with successfully can promote a sense of self-confidence or self-esteem
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Define resilience and provide an example.
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The ability to adapt successfully to even very difficult circumstances
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What is developmental psychopathology?
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Concentrates on determining what is abnormal at any point in development by comparing and contrasting it with normal and expected changes that occur in the course of development; ex. Intense fear of the dark at 3-5 years old is not considered abnormal but at college age it would be
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Why do we need to consider a person’s age when determining diagnoses?
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Because things that are normal at one age could be considered abnormal at another
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According to the biological viewpoint, explain how neurotransmitter and hormonal abnormalities might produce abnormal behavior.
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Neurotransmitter imbalances- there may be excessive production, dysfunction in the processing causing deactivation, and problems with the receptors could cause oversensitivity or under sensitivity all which could cause abnormal behavior Hormones- hormones are chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream to target cells to influence diverse reactions in the body, mainly by the hypothalamus influencing the pituitary gland so imbalances in hormones could cause a dysfunction in these chemical pathways
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Describe at least two methods for studying genetic influences on abnormal behavior
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1) family history method- observe samples of relatives of the subject (or carrier) of the trait or disorder in question to see if the incidence increases in proportion to the degree of hereditary relationship; a limitation of this is that people who are more closely related also probably shared similar environments 2) twin method- identical twins share the same genetic endowment thus if a disorder was completely hereditary one would expect the concordance rate (the percentage of twins sharing the disorder trait) to be 100 percent; however there are no forms of psychopathology where the concordance rates of identical twins are 100 percent so no mental disorders are complete hereditary; however there are some more severe disorders that have high concordance rates for identical twins which is particularly meaningful if they differ for those found from non-identical twins which form from a separate zygote, so genetic transmission of a disorder can be obtained by comparing the concordance rates of identical twins vs. fraternal twins
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What can we learn from family studies? What is a limitation of family studies?
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If anything is hereditary, based on the environment
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Why are adoption studies helpful?
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Comparing genetic and environmental influences – twins raised apart
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Define concordance rate.
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The likelihood that twins whether or not they will develop the same disorder (pg. 69)
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What is temperament, and why is it important for the origins of abnormal behavior?
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… A child’s reactivity and characteristic ways of self-regulation, which is believed to be biologically programmed; our early temperament is thought to be the basis from which our personality develops; from an early age the five dimensions are fearfulness, irritability, positive affect, activity level, and effortful control which are thought to be related to 3 dimensions of adult personality: neuroticism or negative emotionality, extraversion or positive emotionality, and constraint
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What is meant by “neural plasticity”?
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Changing functional organization in the brain
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According to psychoanalytic theory, what are the three parts of the personality?
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…Id- instinctual drives; ego- mediates between demands of the id and external world; superego- concerning with what is right and wrong, the conscience
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What was Freud’s view of anxiety?
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Believed that everyone experienced anxiety and if you don’t deal with it then it will be repressed and lead to more serious disorders
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What are the ego-defense mechanisms?
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According to Freud, what happens if a person does not achieve appropriate gratification during a psychosexual stage of development?
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Develop fixation on that stage; get “stuck” there and don’t move onto next stage
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Define learning, according to the behavioral perspective.
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The modification of behavior as consequence of experience
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What is the central theme of the behavioral perspective, and what has been its impact?
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Behaviorists believed that studying subjective experience, as in psychoanalysis) did not provide acceptable scientific data because those observations were not open to verification by other investigators; this perspective was developed through laboratory conditions rather than clinical practice and its implications for explaining and treating maladaptive behavior became evident
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Be able to identify the unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response in an example.
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Ex. although food naturally elicits salvation, a stimulus that reliably precedes the presentation of food will also come to elicit salvation Unconditioned stimulus- food Unconditioned response- salivation Conditioned stimulus- the stimulus that signals food delivery even though it is not food itself (ex. Ringing a bell before feeding a dog) Conditioned response- salivation in response to the conditioned stimulus
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Define extinction.
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If a conditioned stimulus is repeatedly presented without the UCS, the conditioned response will extinguish (bell presented without food)
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What effect does a reinforcer have on behavior? Punishment?
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Reinforcement is either the delivery of a reward or pleasant stimulus or the removal of or escape from an aversive stimulus; in both situations the individual is conditioned to achieve the desired goal
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Define generalization and discrimination.
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Generalization – when a response is conditioned to one stimulus and then can be evoked by other similar stimuli ex. If a person is afraid of bees they might generalize it to be afraid of all flying insects Discrimination – when a person learns to distinguish between similar stimuli and respond differently to them based on which ones are followed by reinforcement ex. When a person learns that red strawberries taste good and green ones taste bad after experiencing them both
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What is observational learning? Be able to provide an example.
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Learning through observation without directly experiencing an unconditioned stimulus or a reinforcement ex. A child can acquire new fears by simply observing a parent or peer behaving fearfully with some objects that the child did not initially fear
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What is the general focus of the cognitive-behavioral perspective?
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focuses on how thoughts and information processing can become distorted and lead to maladaptive emotions and behavior; concept of a schema aka an underlying representation of knowledge that guides the current processing of information and often leads to distortions in attention, memory, and comprehension
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What is a schema, and what role do schemas play in the cognitive-behavioral approach?
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everyone has schemas about the world such as about themselves, other people, social roles, etc. and they are vital to our ability to engage in the world, however they can also be a source of problems because some schemas or self-schemas could be distorted and inaccurate; different forms of psychopathology are characterized by different maladaptive schemas that have resulted from adverse learning experiences
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Distinguish assimilation and accommodation.
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assimilation- working new experiences into our existing cognitive framework accommodation- changing our existing frameworks to make it possible to incorporate new information that doesn’t fit (basic goal of psychological therapies)
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Be able to list at least two psychological causal factors and at least two sociocultural causal factors of abnormal behavior.
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sociocultural: early deprivation or trauma, problems in parenting style, marital discord and divorce, socioeconomic status and unemployment, malapdative peer relationships, prejudice and discrimination psychological: dysfunctional thoughts, behaviors, and feelings
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What is the biopsychosocial model of abnormal behavior?
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acknowledges that the biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors all interact and play a role in psychpathology and treatment,
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Why is the biopsychosocial model popular among many current psychologists?
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it is more integrated and well rounded
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Define psychological assessment. How is this different from clinical diagnosis? Does assessment only occur prior to treatment?
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Refers to a procedure by which clinicians, using psychological tests, observation, and interviews, develop a summary of the client’s symptoms and problems; Assessment can occur constantly to see if things look the same or to revise clinical formulation
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What do we mean by a client’s “presenting problem”?
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Major symptoms and behavior the client is experiencing
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Define reliability and validity. What is the relationship between these two constructs?
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Reliability- the degree to which an assessment measure produces the same result each time it is used to evaluate the same thing ex. If a scale shows the same weight each time you step on it; in psychology, reliability is the extent to which a measurement instrument can agree that a person fits into a certain diagnostic class Validity- the extent to which a measuring instrument actually measures what it is supposed to measure; the extent to which a measure accurately conveys something clinically important about the person whose behavior fits the category such as helping to predict the future course of the disorder Reliability is more important in psychology than validity because if a person does not fit into a category then it does not matter how valid the categories are; however good reliability doesn’t necessarily guarantee validity
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What do we study with CAT and MRI scans? PET scans? fMRI scans?
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CAT and MRI: Reveals images of parts of the brain that could be diseased; has provided rapid access without surgery to accurate information about the localization and extent of anomalies in the brain’s structural characteristics; anatomical structure PET: allows for appraisal of how an organ is functioning by providing metabolic portraits by tracking how metabolic compounds such as glucose are metabolized by the brain or other organs Functional MRI: regular MRI can reveal brain function but not brain activity, however fMRI reveals changes in local oxygenation of specific areas of brain tissue that depend on neuronal activity in those areas
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What is the main purpose of neuropsychological assessments?
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The use of various testing devices to measure a person’s cognitive, perceptual, and motor performance as clues to the extent and location of brain damage; these are useful because behavioral and psychological impairments due to organic brain abnormalities may manifest before any brain lesion is detectable by a scan alone
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of unstructured interviews? Structured interviews? Know the difference between these two types of clinical interviews.
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Unstructured- typically subjective, do not follow a predetermined set of questions, beginning questions are general and follow up questions are tailored to the individual Pros: clients may view unstructured interviews as being more sensitive to their personal problems, the follow up questions might reveal information that would not have been revealed in a structured interview Cons: important criteria for a diagnosis may be skipped, responses are difficult to quantify or compare with other results Structured- predetermined set of questions, interviewer cannot deviate from the list, all questions are formed in a way for answers to be quantified or clearly determined Cons: take longer to administer, seemingly tangential questions, clients may become frustrated Pros: more reliable results, can be compared
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Be able to recognize an example of a self-monitoring form or scale.
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self- observation and objective reporting of behavior, thoughts, and feelings as they occur in various natural settings; client may be asked to fill out a formal self-report or checklist concerning problematic reactions in various situations
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Distinguish between natural observation of a client’s behavior and an analogue observation of a client’s behavior.
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Natural- observation in the client’s natural environment Analog- observation in an artificial environment
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Does an intelligence test typically provide only one number as a summary of cognitive functioning?
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No they usually test multiple different types of material and subtests; most are more detailed than needed for diagnosis unless there is significant mental impairment
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Name one purpose of intelligence testing.
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In cases where intellectual impairment or organic brain damage is thought to be central to the client’s problem
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What are the assumptions behind the use of projective personality tests? How do they differ from objective tests?
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Projective- unstructured and rely on various ambiguous stimuli such as inkblots or vague pictures rather than on explicit verbal questions and the person’s responses are not limited to certain choices; an assumption is that in trying to make sense of vague, unstructured stimuli, people “project” their own motives, problems and wishes into the situation Objective tests- structured, questionnaires, self-report inventories, rating scales, carefully phrased questions, more controlled, quantifiable
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Name at least three limitations of the Rorschach Inkblot Test.
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some approaches of administering the test can take several hours and therefore must compete for time with other essential clinical services; results can be unreliable because of the subjective nature of test interpretations (ex. One psychiatrist might think a patient is afraid of violence while another might think they want to cause violence); many clinical treatments today require specific behavioral descriptions rather than deep-seated personality dynamics
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What is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2)?
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One of the major structured inventories for personality assessment; most widely used personality test for clinical and forensic assessment; involves no subjective meaning of a true or false answer but rather the meaning resides entirely in whether the answer is the same as the answer deviantly given by patients of varying diagnoses; the test also can detect lying or faking of symptoms
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What is social desirability, and how does it influence clinical assessments? Be able to name how the MMPI-2 deals with the issue of social desirability.
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Social desirability is the tendency of survey respondents to answer questions in a way that will be viewed positively by others, either by under reporting bad behavior or over reporting good behavior; the mmpi-2 has multiple scales to check if a client is lying, responding inconsistently, exaggerating, or views themselves in an overly positive way
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Be able to name at least two ethical issues in assessment.
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Potential cultural bias in the instrument or the clinician’s; theoretical orientation of clinician, under emphasis on the external situation (over focus on personality and under focus on circumstances); insufficient validation; inaccurate data or premature evaluation
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Know the differences between the three basic approaches to classifying abnormal behavior: categorical, dimensional, and prototypal.
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Categorical- assumes 1) all human behavior can be divided into the categories of “healthy” and “disordered” and 2) within the latter there exist discrete, non-overlapping classes or types of disorder that have a high degree of homogeneity in both symptoms displaying and underlying organization of the disorder Dimensional- assumed that a person’s typical behavior is the product of differing strengths or intensities of behavior along several definable dimensions such as mood, emotional stability, aggressiveness, gender identity, anxiousness, social introversion, etc.; the important dimensions are the same for everyone and people will differ in their profile of these dimensions ranging from very low to very high to differ normal from abnormal Prototypal- a prototype is a conceptual entity (ex. A personality disorder) consistent an idealized combination of characteristics that occur together in a less-than perfect or standard way at the level of actual observation
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What do we mean by “case conceptualization”?
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