Psychopathology Revision Notes Psychology AS (AQA)

These notes are ones that I made for my exam, and really helped me revise and get the top grades.

They include everything that the exam board asks for in term of the specification,and are orgainised in a way that will make revision easier, including mind maps and tables, etc. And they're done in colour! Added bonus! whoop whoop!

I hope they help y'all, and good luck :D

P.s.These notes may contain some minor grammatical errors like spelling misakes, but all information is correct.

P.p.s. I sat the exam in June 2013 btw

Feel free to check out my other psychology notes, aswell as my sociology ones :D

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Slide 1

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Psychology UNIT 2: Psychopathology
Part 1: Defining Psychological
· Rejecting medical model of psychopathology, and proposing people had `problems with
· The state when individuals appear to have lost contact with reality, e.g. schizophrenia/
bipolar depression.
· The individual doesn't have insight into their condition.
(1) Abnormality as `Deviation from Social Norms' (DSN)
· Rules of behaviour are set up by society we live in called social norms.
· If anyone violates(breaks) or deviates (behaves differently) from these social norms,
they are regarded as abnormal.
· E.g. The difference in funeral norms in Britain (crying) and New Orleans (partying).
· Therefore, in this definition what is normal in one social group may be abnormal in
· Thus the definition is socially constructed.
AO2-Limitations of DNS:
Deviating from social Norms of society may Social norms vary over
norms isn't always a have a political dimension. time.
sign of If people disagree with a In America homosexuality
psychopathology. policy/party they may be was viewed as a disorder
Therefore the context labelled as schizophrenic until the 1960's, yet
(e.g. superstition) in and locked up. Thus nowadays it's more socially
which the behaviour definitions may be used as approved. Therefore
takes place needs to be form of political control. definitions change
accounted for. overtime.
Cultural Relativity
Social norms are specific to a particular culture or society. Therefore behaviour
normal in one country may be abnormal in another.…read more

Slide 2

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Psychology UNIT 2: Psychopathology
Part 1: Defining Psychological
(2) Abnormality as `Failure to Function Adequately.' (FFA)
· Failure to function adequately means that a person is unable to live a normal life,
unable to experience normal emotions, or engage in normal behaviours.
· Therefore they are unable to function adequately and are considered abnormal.
· Dysfunctional behaviour is only abnormal when it interferes with daily functioning.
· The person is also able to recognise themselves that they are suffering from FFA.
· Thus this definition is more ethical, as the person doesn't have the label of abnormality
forced upon them by others- Self diagnosis.
Observer Discomfort: Unpredictability:
Another's behaviour when observed
causes discomfort and distress to the
FFA an involve unpredictable and
observer is seen as abnormal. uncontrollable behaviour at times.
Characteristics of
Irrationality: Maladaptiveness:
FFA can include irrational behaviour This is central to the FFA definition.
Limitations of FFA:
that's hard to understand. E.g. hearing
things and having visions.
Refers to behaviour that interferes
with daily routine.
AO2-Limitations of FFA:
Failing to function isn't FFA isn't always due to a Psychological disorders
always a sign of psychological disorder. don't always prevent
psychopathology. Holding down a job/ adequate functioning.
Behaviour that looks like supporting family may be This is because people
FFA, may be quite normal difficult due to economic may have disorders, yet
depending on the context. reasons. Also immigrants still appear normal most
E.g. prisoners on hunger may also face racism. of the time.
Cultural Relativity
Patterns of behaviour vary from culture to culture, so for every culture FFA may look
very different.…read more

Slide 3

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Psychology UNIT 2: Psychopathology
Part 1: Defining Psychological
(3) Abnormality as `Deviation from Ideal Metal Health' (DIMH)
· This doesn't define abnormality directly, but focuses on behaviour and characteristics
people need in order to be considered `normal'.
· Deviation from these ideas would be defined as abnormal.
· Jahoda introduced a number of characteristics for ideal mental helath:
Individuals should be Individuals should be
An individual should be
resistant to anxiety and focused on the future,
in touch with their own
stress, and be able to and on achieving one's
identity and feelings.
cope efficiently. full potential.
Individuals should be
Individuals should show
able to recognise their
empathy and
needs and have a
understanding towards
accurate perception of
AO2-Limitations of DIMH:
Cultural relativity, as these ideas Not all `normal' people match the
aren't applicable to all societies. criteria outlined.
These characters are based on Very few would be able to match
western societies and ideals. In non- the criteria, thus does that make
western cultures where they the majority of the population
promote collectivist culture, abnormal. Also how far does a
concepts such as self actualisation person have to deviate before
may not be recognised. being defined as abnormal.…read more

Slide 4

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Psychology UNIT 2: Psychopathology
Part 1: Explaining Psychological
· It studies the relationship between behaviour and the bodies various
psychological systems, especially the brain.
· The brain is the processing centre, controlling all complex behaviour, so all
behaviour, normal or abnormal can be related to brain activity.
· The study of the brain helps us recognise conditions such as schizophrenia,
depression and OCD.
Key assumptions:
· Changes in either the · Development of the body,
structure or function of including the brain is influenced
the brain. by genetics.
· E.g. changes in relative size · Biological psychologists tend to
of brain structures, or the assume most behaviours,
activity of brain normal or abnormal, involve a
neurotransmitters and inherited component from the
hormones. -- biological parents. --OCD &
Depression. Phobias.
However, there are distinctions between biological and genetic for
· Depression is linked to low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin,
hence it's likely to be inherited.---This is genetic/biological
· However, environmental factors such as stress is also linked to low
serotonin levels which leads to depression, so can also be caused by
non-genetic factors.---This is environmental.
Nature VS Nurture Debate.
This is the argument of whether behaviour is influenced more
by genetic inheritance (nature-biological), or by environmental
factors such as upbringing and socialisation (nurture-
psychological).…read more

Slide 5

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Psychology UNIT 2: Psychopathology
Part 1: Explaining Psychological
Strengths: Weaknesses:
· Modern technology · This is approach is a
helped identify many reductionist one,
psychopathologies. E. biological and
g. low serotonin and environmental factors
schizophrenia is are ignored.
linked to the over · Genetic components
activity of don't always provide
neurotransmitter complete explanation.
dopamine. Also some vulnerable
· Research into genetic factors may be
genetics has helped reinforced by
identify many environmental factors.
disorders such as · Although drug
schizophrenia, bipolar treatment tends to
disorders and some support the biological
phobias. approach, they aren't
· Drug treatment is effective for all
seen as effective in disorders such as
conditions such as phobias and eating
depression, anxiety disorders. They may
and schizophrenia. not cure abnormality,
just treat it.…read more

Slide 6

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Psychology UNIT 2: Psychopathology
Part 1: Explaining Psychological
· Freud introduced the psychodynamic approach, which assumes adult
behaviour reflects complex dynamic interactions between the conscious and
unconscious processes.
· He focused on repressed material uncovered during hypnosis.
· The two key elements of his abnormality model were:
1. Human personality.
2. Psychosexual development in childhood.
1)The Structure of the personality
The Id: The Id:
The unconscious part of The selfish part of
elements the personality
the mind, based on innate
interact with that demands and
each It operates with pleasure misbehaves.
other.... and thrives to satisfy these
instincts through
pleasurable activities.
The Superego:
The conscious that The Ego:
develops later in The conscious part, and It
childhood. The child develops during early
internalises the rules and childhood.
norms of society. It operates on a reality
principle and balances the
demands of the real world
The superego: against the instinctive
Concerned with drives of the Id.
morals and
fairness. Stops
the Id getting The Ego:
what it wants. Prevents conflict arising
between the Id and the
superego…read more

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I'm going to write my exam in 2017 however, your notes are completely relevant. They are amazing. thanks a lot.



thank you so much for these notes! they have really helped me in my revision. Fingers crossed the exam goes well :)

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