AS psychology Model of abnormality (Unit2, AQA B)

This was made by my psychology teacher to help with anxiety disorders, it makes it easier to learn biological, cognitive and psychodynamic approach to anxiety disorders.

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King Edward VI Handsworth School Psychology Department
Models of abnormality cheat sheet
PSYB2 3.2.5
The biological model
Psychological and behavioural symptoms are assumed to result from an
underlying organic (i.e. physical) defect or problem.
Immediate causes Contributing factors
· Abnormality of the physical structure of the brain; · An abnormal or faulty gene or genes.
· Abnormality in the levels/fluctuations of different · A pathogenic infection (e.g. borna virus) or other
brain chemicals (neurotransmitters & hormones) disease process (e.g. a tumour).
· Over- or under-sensitivity of the brain to some of · An environmental toxin (e.g. organophosphates;
its own chemicals psychotropic drugs).
· An environmental stressor or stressors.
Leading Phobias are seen as arising from a problem in the nervous system
to... (NS). It may be that the sympathetic ANS, which becomes active
during threat or stress, is more reactive in phobics than non-phobics.
Alternately, the parts of the brain that control fearful emotions, (e.g.
the amygdala), may not be functioning normally. These NS
Abnormality in brain functioning, abnormalities may result from a gene or genes that the person has
presumably in areas related to inherited, that caused their NS to develop differently to that of non-
the symptoms of the disorder. phobics. Bio-psychologists would not deny, however, that phobia may
be triggered by the person's environment.
The psychodynamic model
Psychological and behavioural symptoms are assumed to result from
unconscious conflict within the psyche.
Immediate causes Contributing factors
· Weak ego, unable to balance the demands of id · Traumatic experiences (esp. in childhood, esp. of
and superego effectively. a sexual nature)
· Dominant superego, resulting in anxious and · Abnormal relationship with parents in early years
depressed symptoms (neurosis). · Failure to successfully pass through
· Dominant id, resulting in impulsivity, aggression psychosexual stages of development (fixation)
and loss of contact with reality (psychosis).
Leading Phobias are seen as manifestations of repressed (sexual) fears
to... originating in the id, but forbidden by the superego. The fear is
displaced onto an apparently innocuous object allowing the fear
to be expressed but leaving its true origins unconscious. There is
Symptoms that allow the a symbolic link between the phobic object and the underlying
fear, as when `Little Hans' displaced his oedipal fear of his father
repressed conflict/feelings to
onto horses: his father had played `horses' with Hans early in life.
manifest in more acceptable ways Fear of being bitten represented Hans' castration anxiety.
A.B.Sammons Created on 7/16/2008 10:43:00 AM ASModelsofAbnormalityCheatSheet.doc

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King Edward VI Handsworth School Psychology Department
The behavioural model
Behavioural (and experiential) symptoms are assumed to result from prior
learning. No single underlying cause is assumed.
Immediate causes Contributing factors
· Environmental stimuli elicit maladaptive/abnormal · Experiences that resulted in the learning of
learned behaviours. maladaptive behaviour through:
· Contingencies (consequences of the behaviours) o Classical conditioning.
cause them to be repeated (positive o Operant conditioning.
reinforcement or negative o Social learning.
reinforcement/avoidance learning).
Leading Phobias are seen as the consequence of learning.…read more


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