Clinical Psychology

Required definitions for A2 Clinical Psychology, Edexcel.

  • Created by: Nerual197
  • Created on: 23-04-14 19:39

Clinical Psychology

Aims to reduce psychological distress and to enhance and promote psychological well-being. A wide range of psychological difficulties are dealt with, including anxiety, depression, relationship problems and serious mental illnesses.

To assess a client, a clinical psychologist mayh undertake a clinical assessment using a variety of methods including psychological tests, interviews, and direct observations of behaviour. Assessment may lead to therapy, counselling or advice.

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Statistical & Social Norm Definition Of Abnormalit

Statistical - By definition abnormality means deviating from the average (norm). Statistically infrequent behaviour is regarded as abnormal, whereas frequent behaviour is normal. Individual characteristics can be measured (such as mood or intellifence) and the distribution of these characteristics within the population can be graphed. A normal distribution curve shows the majority of people as being in the middle. These people are defined as normal. Relatively few people fall at either end, but when they do they are abnormal. 

Social Norm - Each society has a set of commonly accepted rules and standards of behaviour. Some of these are 'explicit' and legally binding (e.g. murder) or some are 'implicit' but not legally binding (e.g. queuing). Behaviour is considered abnormal if the majority doesn't consider the behaviour acceptable.

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How consistent a study or measuring device is. A measurement is said to be reliable if the measurement can produce similar results if used again in similar circumstances. There is much debate about whether abnormal behaviour can be diagnosed reliably. One person's set of symptoms may not lead to a common diagnosis between doctors.

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Validity refers to whether a study or test measures/examines what it claims to measure/examine. It can be argued that when disorders are operationalized such as with a list of symptoms then the measuring devise (e.g. DSM) is losing validity for it does not truly describe the patient's experience of the illness.

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Primary and Secondary Data

Primary data is collected by the researcher from the source. Most psychological methods collect primary dara such as in experiments or questionnaires. IT may present original thinking or new information. 

Secondary data is a second hand analysis of pre-existing primary data. It may be analysed in a different way or used to answer a different question that that in the original research. It uses someone else's data. It usually interprets, analyses and evaluates primary data - for example doing a statistical test on primary data means that the results are secondary. It can be gathered before primary data to create the hypothesis and get a background. It can come from the internet/books.

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