Definitions of Abnormality

Biological Approach

Psychodynamic Approach

Behavioural Approach

Cognitive Approach

Biological Therapies

Psychological Therapies

  • Created by: Reevelite
  • Created on: 20-04-15 21:54
Why define abnormality?
So health professionals have an objective means of diagnosing abnormality, in order to give effective treatments.
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Name the three definitions of abnormality.
Deviation from social norms. Failure to function adequately. Deviation from ideal mental health.
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What are social norms?
Standards of acceptable behaviour that are set by a social group.
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Why do we have social norms?
To increase the positivity of interaction and socialising.
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Give an example of a social norm, and why it is in place.
Politeness (the main basis of interpersonal relations). Rudeness makes interaction difficult.
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Give an example of a more serious moral social norm.
Acceptable sexual behaviour. DSM categorises pedophilia and voyeurism under 'sexual disorders'; behaviours which are socially deviant.
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Name three criticisms of deviation from social norms.
[-] Susceptible to changing times, [-] change regarding context and degree, [-] cultural relativism.
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What is the basis of 'failure to function adequately'?
Abnormality judged on one's ability to cope; if someone's day-to-day life is disrupted by their abnormal feelings then they may seek help.
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Name three criticisms of failure to function adequately.
Objective measures of abnormality, maladaptive behaviour and cultural relativism.
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Name the six criteria of ideal mental health
Self actualisation, autonomy, self attitudes, integration, accurate perception of reality and mastery of the environment.
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What is Jahoda's rationale behind basing mental health on meeting criteria?
That mental illnesses should be treated like physical illnesses.
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Name three criticisms of deviation from ideal mental health.
[-] Who can meet all the criteria? [-] Is mental health the same as physical health? [-] Cultural relativism.
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Name the four main models of abnormality.
Biological, Psychodynamic, Cognitive and Behavioural.
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What is the main assumption behind the biological approach?
That mental disorders are related to change in the body.
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Which factors cause these biological changes?
Genes, biochemistry, neuroanatomy and viral infection.
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How do you investigate the genetic hypothesis of abnormality?
Twin studies allow us to gain concordance rates regarding mental illness between two individuals with the same genes.
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Which mental disorders have low concordance rates?
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Which mental disorders have high concordance rates?
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How have the genes responsible for abnormality come about?
Evolutionary adaptations in our ancestors providing traits which are no longer needed.
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How are genes responsible for biochemistry?
They regulate the levels of hormones/neurotransmitters in the brain, for example low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression.
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How are genes responsible for neuroanatomy?
They determine the structure of the brain, for example schizophrenics have been found to have large gaps in their brains; suggesting tissue shrinkage.
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Which specific viral infection has been linked to abnormality?
A particular strain of influenza in pregnant women, which entered the unborn baby's brain to lay dormant until puberty. Hormones activate it and schizophrenic symptoms develop.
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Name two methods of investigating the biological approach.
Experiments (e.g. drug experiments showing the importance of biochemistry) and correlational data (a more ethical way of investigating genetics, by studying relationships).
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Name three criticisms of the biological approach.
[+/-] Humane or inhumane? [-] Cause and effect? [-] Diathesis stress model.
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What is the main assumption behind the psychodynamic approach?
The origins of mental disorder lie in unresolved, unconscious childhood conflicts. Mental illnesses have psychological causes, not physical.
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How does the ego deal with traumas in childhood?
By repressing them, as the ego is too immature. Similar events later in life trigger the repressed feelings and bring them into the conscious; causing depression and inward anger.
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Define personality.
A unique character we each have, developed out of interaction with innate devices and the environment.
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Define ID.
An innate device, ruling the personality at birth. Driven by the pleasure principle, the ID gets what it wants when it wants.
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Define ego.
At one year, the reality principle alerts the child they can't always get what they want after interaction with the environment. The child must accommodate to the environments need.
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Define superego.
Around the age of five, the conscience and sense of right and wrong emerges.
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Why do the innate devices cause anxiety?
They all have conflicting demands, these conflicts cause anxiety.
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Why are defence mechanisms used?
The ego uses 'defences mechanisms' to reduce the anxiety.
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What are some example of defence mechanisms?
Regression, repression, projection, denial and displacement.
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What are two key case studies on the psychodynamic approach?
Little Hans and Anna O.
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What are three criticisms of the psychodynamic approach?
[-] Abstract concepts, [+/-] case studies, [+/-] sexism and [-] non-falsifiability.
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Define external behaviours focused on in the behavioural approach.
Displays of compulsive behaviour indicative of mental disorder.
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Define internal behaviours focused on in the behavioural approach.
Experiencing certain feelings.
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How may abnormal behaviour be produced through classical conditioning?
Feared objects (neutral stimuli) are associated with some fear or anxiety in the past (unconditioned response), so the feared object (conditioned stimulus) now provokes a powerful fear response.
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How may abnormal behaviour be produced through operant conditioning?
Psychological disorders occur when a maladaptive behaviour is positively reinforced. The behaviour may be functional for the individual or it was when it was learnt.
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Give an example of how abnormal behaviour is produced through operant conditioning.
A child may find that panic attacks gain attention from their caregivers, so they repeat them until they are hard to stop. This behaviour may be carried into adulthood where they emulate the same learnt behaviour to gain attention from a partner
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How may abnormal behaviour be produced through vicarious learning?
Behaviours are learnt by seeing others be rewarded or punished, social contexts may mean maladaptive behaviours are observed and imitated. Therefore it is hard to distinguish whether disorders which 'run in families' are inherited or learnt.
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What is the key case study associated with the behavioural approach?
Little Albert - Watson and Rayner.
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What are four criticisms of the psychodynamic approach?
[-] Reductionism, [-] alternative evolutionary explanation, [-] treating the symptoms not the cause, [+] animal studies.
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What is the fundamental theory behind the cognitive approach?
Abnormality is caused by faulty thinking; which directly influences behaviour. The focus is not on the problem but the way the individual thinks about it.
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Describe the ABC model.
A = Activating event (e.g the sight of a large dog). B = Belief (e.g "the dog is harmless" or "the dog will attack me"). C = Consequence - the reaction to the belief (e.g amusement/indifference (rational) or fear/panic (irrational))
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Why is the cognitive approach different to other models of abnormality?
This assumes the individual is in control, and abnormality is a result of their cognitive ability rather than factors out of their control.
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Why can the other models besides the cognitive approach be seen as deterministic?
Because they eliminates the idea of free will, by assuming the cause of abnormality is outside of the individual's control.
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Define cognitive structures.
The internal organisation of information, for example looking at a dog as an object of fear rather than a companion, source of entertainment and so on.
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Define cognitive content.
The material the individual is processing, for example focusing on the negative aspects of a situation ("I know I'm going to fail this exam") rather than the positive ones ("I'm doing my best").
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Define cognitive processes.
The ways in which we operate on this information, for example an anxious girl hears a coworker mention that she finds someone annoying; the girl instantly assumes it is about her despite the ambiguity of the statement - irrational thinking.
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Define cognitive products.
The conclusions people reach once the information has been processed, for example the nervous girl may conclude that she isn't liked - based on faulty processing.
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What did Meichenbaum call the products of faulty thinking?
Counterproductive self statements.
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What is an example of a counterproductive self-statement?
It is necessary to be approved and liked by everyone.
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Why are counterproductive self-statements damaging?
Holding such irrational expectations is bound to leave an individual feeling disappointed when something happens that doesn't match the expectation; leaving room for them to be feeling depressed about more things.
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What are three criticisms of the cognitive approach?
[-] Blames the patient, [-] consequence or cause? [-] Irrational beliefs may be realistic.
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What are two biological treatments given for abnormality.
Drugs and ECT.
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Antipsychotics are split into two groups.
Typical (conventional) or atypical.
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What do conventional antipsychotics do?
They block D2 receptors in the brain, disallowing dopamine transmission. They are dopamine antagonists.
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What to atypical antipsychotics do?
They only temporarily block D2 receptors, rapidly dissociating after some time to allow for normal dopamine transmission when necessary.
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What is one advantage of atypicals over typicals?
Less severe side effects.
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Antidepressants focus on which neurotransmitter?
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How are the actions of neurotransmitters terminated in the brain?
By being reabsorbed into the nerve endings from which they are released or being broken down by enzymes.
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How do antidepressants work?
By reducing the rate of reabsorption of serotonin or by blocking the enzyme which breaks serotonin down.
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How do SSRIs work?
They block the transporter mechanism which reabsorbs serotonin after its released, leaving more serotonin on the synapse thus prolonging its activity.
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What are three criticisms of drug therapy?
[+] Effectiveness, [+] ease of use, [-] placebo effects, [-] tackles symptoms rather than problem, [-] side effects.
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Who receives ECT?
Severely depressed patients for whom drug and psychological therapy have not worked.
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Why does ECT work?
We don't really know, but we can assume the seizure which effects the entire brain helps alter the ways certain neurotransmitters act; improving communication within the brain.
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What are three criticisms of ECT?
[+] ECT can save lives, [+] effectiveness, [-] sham ECT, [-] side effects.
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Who inspired psychoanalysis?
Freud and his psychodynamic theory.
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What is the purpose of psychoanalysis?
To bring repressed memories from the unconscious to the conscious so the individual can deal with them more effectively.
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How does free association work?
Patients are encouraged to vocalise all of their thoughts as they occur without censorship, to reveal areas of conflict and bring repressed memories into the conscious.
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How does therapist interpretation work?
The therapist interprets the patient's freely recalled thoughts, drawing conclusions which are either corrected, rejected or added to by the patient. They may avoid the conversation or project feelings onto the therapist (transference).
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How does working through work?
Meeting four-five times a week over a period of years, patient and therapist repeatedly visit the same behaviours to gain clarity over their cause, allowing understanding of the influence of the past on the patient's condition and how to control it.
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Give five criticisms of psychoanalysis.
[+] Effectiveness, [+] length of treatment, [-] theoretical limitations, [-] appropriateness, [-] the risk of false memories.
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How does systematic desensitisation work?
By gradually introducing patients to a feared stimulus, they can gradually learn a relaxed state in the presence of it that will override the fear response - counterconditioning.
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How is SD used?
By first imagining the fear stimulus and overcoming this boundary, patients can be directly exposed to the feared stimulus over time as anxiety is reduced using the SD therapy.
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What is SD particularly useful for treating?
Anxiety related disorders, such as phobias.
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How does SD work?
Patient is taught a relaxed state (relaxed muscles), a desensitisation hierarchy is built (one feared situation after another, each worse than the previous), working through it and visualising each situation in the relaxed state; mastering it.
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Give four criticisms of SD.
[+] Appropriateness, [+] effectiveness, [-] symptom substitution, [-] reduced effectiveness for some phobias.
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What does cognitive behavioural therapy focus on?
The idea that many problems are the result of faulty thinking, which directly effects our behaviour. How we think effects how we feel and how we behave.
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What does REBT stand for?
Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy
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Who founded REBT?
Albert Ellis.
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What is REBT based upon?
Our problems are caused by irrational thinking which leads to self-defeating habits and unrealistic beliefs about ourselves and the world around us.
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Which model is at the core of REBT?
The ABC model.
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How does REBT work?
REBT changes irrational thoughts (producing unhealthy negative emotion and self-defeating habits) into rational ones (which produce healthy positive emotions).
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Define logical disputing.
Self defeating beliefs do not follow logically from the information available - "Does thinking this way make sense?"
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Define empirical disputing.
Self defeating beliefs may not be consistent with reality - "Where is the proof that this belief is accurate?"
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Define pragmatic disputing.
Self defeating habits are not useful - "How is this belief likely to help me?"
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Which model comes as a result of REBT?
The DEF model.
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Explain the DEF model.
D = Disputing (challenging self-defeating habits and thoughts) to lead onto a more (E)ffective outlook on life and more positive and health (F)eelings.
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What are five criticisms of REBT?
[+] Effectiveness, [+] appropriateness, [+] delivery via computer, [-] irrational environments, [-] not suitable for all.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Name the three definitions of abnormality.


Deviation from social norms. Failure to function adequately. Deviation from ideal mental health.

Card 3


What are social norms?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Why do we have social norms?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Give an example of a social norm, and why it is in place.


Preview of the front of card 5
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