AQA Psychology AS Psychopathology

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List the 3 definitions of abnormality.
Deviation from social norms; failure to function adequately; deviation from ideal mental health
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Outline the deviation from social norms definition.
Standards of acceptable behaviour are set by a social group. Anything that deviates from this is 'abnormal'. What is acceptable may change over time.
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Outline limitations of this definition.
Susceptible to abuse. Deviance is hard to identify because it is related to context and degree. Cultural relativism.
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Outline the failure to function adequately definition.
Not being able to cope with demands of everyday life. Abnormal behaviour interferes with day-to-day living. Individual judges when their behaviour becomes 'abnormal'.
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Outline limitations of this definition.
Who judges? Apparently dysfunctional behaviour may sometimes be adaptive. Cultural relativism.
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Outline the deviation from ideal mental health definition.
Suggested using the same criteria as for physical illness. 6 categories: self attitudes; self-actualisation; integration; autonomy; accurate perception of reality; mastery of environment.
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How does the biological approach explain mental abnormality?
Uses bodily systems to explain. Malfunctioning biological systems. Mental disorder treated like physical illness.
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What physical factors cause abnormality?
Genes. Traits inherited that may have previously been adaptive. Neurotransmitters. Viral infection in the womb.
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Name the 3 psychological approaches to psychopathology.
Psychodynamic, behavioural, cognitive.
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Outline the psychodynamic approach.
Abnormal behaviour is determined by underlying psychological conflicts of which they are largely unaware.
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What unconscious, psychological factors cause abnormality?
Unresolved conflicts between id, ego and superego result in ego defences which may be expressed as mental disorder. Early experiences. Behaviour is unconsciously motivated.
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Outline the behavioural approach.
All behaviour is learned. Maladaptive behaviours are learned in the same way.
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How does learning cause abnormality?
Classical conditioning - learning through association. Operant conditioning - learning through consequences of behaviour. Social learning - observation and vicarious rewards. Learning environments reinforce problematic behaviours.
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Outline the cognitive approach.
The mind is like a computer - processes information. Problems arise because of the way an individual thinks about the world.
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How does faulty thinking cause abnormality?
Cognitive distortions: structures; content; processes and products. ABC model. Rational beliefs --> healthy consequences. Irrational beliefs --> unhealthy emotions. Individual is in control of their thoughts so abnormality is due to faulty control.
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Outline limitations of the biological approach.
Concept of mental illness was invented as a form of social control. Causal model not supported by individual differences. No evidence for 100% concordance rate for MZ twins. Diathesis-stress model can explain role of biology and experience.
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Outline limitations of the psychodynamic approach.
Abstract concepts. Sexism. Difficult to prove or disprove. Theory lends itself to apparent disproof into support because of the action of defence mechanisms.
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Outline limitations of the behavioural approach.
Limited view of the factors that cause mental disorder. Explanation flawed. Some phobias more likely to develop than others. Symptom substitution suggests causes of abnormality may not be behavioural.
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Outline limitations of the cognitive approach.
Blames individual rather than situational factors so real causes may be overlooked. Way of thinking may be an effect rather than cause. Faulty thinking may be a vulnerability factor. Irrational beliefs may be realistic.
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Outline research methods of the biological approach.
Experiments used to test the effects of drugs and therefore support the role of causal transmitters. Correlation.
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Outline research methods of the psychodynamic approach.
Case studies. Experiments.
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Outline research methods of the behavioural approach.
Experiments are easily done because focus is on observable factors so we can demonstrate the importance of consequences.
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Outline research methods of the cognitive approach.
Experiments. Meta-analysis.
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Name the 2 biological therapies for mental disorder.
ECT and chemotherapy.
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Outline chemotherapy.
Conventional antipsychotics. Block dopamine in the brain. Antidepressants increase activity of serotonin. Anti-anxiety drugs.
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Strengths of chemotherapy.
Effective. Easy to use. Best used along with psychotherapy.
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Weaknesses of chemotherapy.
Some studies show placebo as equally as effective. Tackles symptoms not problem. Side effects.
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Outline ECT.
Used for severe depression. Unconscious, relaxed patient given 0.6 amps for 1/2 second --> seizure. 3 - 15 treatments. Unilateral or bilateral. Not clear why it works.
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Strengths of ECT.
Can prevent suicide. Effective.
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Weakness of ECT.
Some patients recover even with 'sham' ECT suggesting extra attention is important. Side effects.
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Outline ethical issues associated with ECT.
50% of patients not well informed about the procedure.
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Name the 3 psychological treatments for mental disorder.
Psychoanalysis, systematic desensitisation (SD), Rational-Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)
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Outline psychoanalysis.
Seeks to recover repressed memories or unresolved conflicts.
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What are the techniques used in psychoanalysis?
Free association; therapist interpretation; working through.
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Strengths of psychoanalysis.
80% success rate in 10,000 records. Longer treatments have better outcomes.
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Weaknesses of psychoanalysis.
Based on psychoanalytic theory, but theory is flawed. Fails to acknowledge individual differences. 'Repressed' memories are likely to be false.
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Outline ethical issues associated with psychoanalysis.
Stress from insights, problem of false memories and forced termination.
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Outline SD.
Gradual exposure to feared stimulus based on counterconditioning.
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What are the steps involved?
Learn relaxation; construct desensitisation hierarchy; visualise each event while relaxing; work through hierarchy; eventually master fear.
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Strengths of SD.
Quick and requires relatively little effort. Useful for people with learning difficulties. 75% recovery for people with phobias.
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Weaknesses of SD.
Deals with symptoms, not the cause - may lead to symptom substitution. May be less effective for 'ancient fears' eg the dark.
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Outline REBT.
Challenges thinking using logical, empirical and/or pragmatic disputing. Patient moves from catastrophising to more rational thinking.
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Strengths of REBT.
More effective than drugs alone. Useful for clinical and non-clinical groups.
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Limitations of REBT.
Doesn't address influence of external environment. Not suitable for all.
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Outline ethical issues associated with REBT.
May create moral conflicts.
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Card 2

Front

Outline the deviation from social norms definition.

Back

Standards of acceptable behaviour are set by a social group. Anything that deviates from this is 'abnormal'. What is acceptable may change over time.

Card 3

Front

Outline limitations of this definition.

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Outline the failure to function adequately definition.

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Outline limitations of this definition.

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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