Approaches to psychopathology

abnormaility: 4 approaches

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  • Created by: Matt Dale
  • Created on: 02-06-11 14:39

Biological approach

What it is: The view that behaviours/abnormailty can be explained in terms of biological mechanisms (hormones, neurones, genes and brain activity). 

Basic Principles:
Abnormality is caused by physical factors:
Mental disorders are caused by a change in the body. 
Genetic inheritance: Passed from parent to child, product from evolution and our ancestors. 
Genes (lead to abnormality): They tell the body how to function, they determin the level of serotonin and hormones within the body  
Viral infection: Abnormailty may be becuase of viral infection (e.g. torrey found schizophrenia, was caused by influenza in the womb)

A02: Cause and Effect: Only provides a link, no ******** evidence to support
Inconclsuive evidence: nothing to suggest that mental disorders are caused by genetics 

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Psycho dynamic approach

What it is: The view that behaviours/abnormailty can be explained in terms of the dynamics of behaviour,  i.e. what drives us to behave in paticular ways

Basic Principles:
Mental disorders resuts from psychological causes:
unresolved childhood conflicts, rather than physical causes 
Unresolvd conflicts cause mental disorders: conflicts between the id, ego and superego.  (ego protects itself with ego defences)
Early experiances cause mental disorder: In childhood ego cannot cope, therefore memories are repressed (ego defence).
Unconcious motavations cause mental disorder: 

A02:  Abstract concepts:  id, ego and superego hard to research, don't even exist?
Sexism: Freud is sexist, less developed towards women
Lack of research evidence:  Difficult to prove or disprove his theory

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Behavioral Approach

What it is: The view that behaviours/abnormailty can be explained in terms of experiance of classical or operant conditioning and the experiance of life

Basic Principles:
Only behaviour is important:
Concentrates soley on behaviours; i.e. the response a persons makes to their enviroment. (external or internal)
Abnormal behaviours are learned through conditioning or social learning: Disorders can be adapted to the learning theorys
Learning enviroments: May reinforce problematic behaviours, people may be scared of flying after seeing a crash on the news

A02: Limited view:
Behaviourist view of abnormailty ignore the role of treating abnormality. instead just stating what it is.
The symptoms and not the cause: Behavioural  therapis only treat the symptoms and not the cause of abnormality.

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Cognitive appraoch

What it is: The view that behaviours/abnormailty can be explained in terms of cognition; how people perceive, reason and judge the world around them

Basic Principles:
Abnormality is caused by faulty thinking:
The focus is not on the problem itself, but the way the problem is thought about. 
Ellis: ABC model
A: activating event;
what initiates the problem
B: Belief: which will be rational or irrational
C: Consequence: rational beliefs (helathy emotions), irrational beliefs (unhealthy emotions) 

Indivdual is in control: the cognitive model portrays the indivdua as being the cause of their own behaviour, because the indivdual controls their own thoughts, therefore abnormality is caused from product of faulty control

A02: Blames the patient rather than situational factors: Doesnt considerate life changes or family problems.
Consequence rather than cause: Which comes first? do thoughts and beleifs cause distrubence or does mental disorder lead to faulty thinking 
Irrational beliefs may be realistic; Depressed people more accurate estimates of the world 

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Coral Brookes


thankyou - good last min revison

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