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Biological and psychological approaches to
Key terms:
Psychopathology ­ The scientific study of psychological disorders, their nature
and their causes

Biological approach ­ The view that behaviour is explained in terms of
biological mechanisms

Behavioural approach ­ (Applied from learning theory) All behaviour is
learned through experience as…

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The relationship is the greater the underlying vulnerability the
subsequently less stress is needed to trigger the incidence of that

Outline of approach:

Assumes that all mental disorders have a biological basis, relating to
change in the body. The malfunction of biological systems, processes and
mechanisms. Thought to…

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antipsychotics. This shows that drugs rid the individual of their abnormal
symptoms suggesting that the origin of the symptoms may be

No blame:

The diagnosis of the mental illness implies that the patient is not to
blame and is not responsible for their abnormal behaviour. The concept

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There is not a simple cause and effect relationship between biological
influences and mental disorders
The role of genetic inheritance is not casual, if this were the sole cause
twins would both be mentally ill
It is not clear whether the things that arise from a mental disorder are…

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Key terms:
Maladaptive behaviour ­ Any behaviour that inhibits an individual's ability to
cope with or adjust to particular situations

Social learning theory ­ The assumption that people learn through indirect as
well as direct rewards by observing the behaviour of models (observational

And then imitating such behaviour…

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The environments in which behaviours are learned may reinforce
maladaptive behaviours as they could provide desired consequences
For example:
An individual with agoraphobia, not leaving home lowers anxiety levels
An individual with depression, displaying depressive symptoms elicits
help from others, as this is rewarding the symptoms continue


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Experimenters have successfully used the principles of learning to create
symptoms in participants, suggesting real disorders may develop in the
same way

A limited view:

Behaviourist explanations are criticized as they offer an extremely
limited view of what may cause abnormality.
Behaviourists tend to ignore the role of…

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The illness returns suggesting the underlying problem is still there casting
a shadow of doubt over the claim that the problem of abnormality is due
to purely maladaptive learning

The cognitive approach to psychopathology:

Key terms:
A-B-C model ­ Refers to the three components of experience that can be…

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Research support:

Support for this approaches comes from the success of therapies based
on the cognitive approach
They have been shown to be effective in treatment of a range of
disorders including panic disorders and depression
Research shows that when they compared cognitive therapies (CT) with
antidepressant medication…

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It is also possible that faulty thinking is a vulnerability factor for
psychopathology with individuals with maladaptive cognitions being at
greater risk to developing mental disorders

Irrational beliefs may be realistic:

Not all irrational beliefs are irrational
It is suggested that many people with depression actually have a much…


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