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Chapter 1 Looking at Abnormality

Abnormal Psychology by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema 5th Edition
What is the continuum model of abnormality?
1. The continuum model of normality suggests that all behavior falls along a continuum from normal to abnormal and that we make subjective judgments of where to draw the line between normality and abnormality.
What is cultural relativism? What are the greatest advantage and disadvantage of this perspective on abnormality?
Cultural relativism is a perspective on abnormality that argues that the norms of a society must be used to determine the normality or abnormality of a behavior. While this criterion recognizes cultural values and the fact that abnormality is always influenced by those values, cultural norms also can be used to discriminate against nonconforming people by labeling them as abnormal.
What is the unusualness criterion for abnor- mality? What are its major advantages and disadvantages?
The unusualness criterion for abnormality suggests that unusual or rare behaviors should be labeled abnormal. A major advantage of this criterion is that only rare behaviors are labeled abnormal. Major disadvantages are that cutoffs for rareness are arbitrary and that positive rare behaviors are not labeled abnormal.
What is the distress criterion for abnormality? What about it is useful, and what about it is problematic?
4. The distress criterion for abnormality suggests that only behaviors or emotions that an individual finds distressing should be labeled abnormal. This criterion acknowledges the importance of the subjective experience of the individual. However, not all people who are engaging in behaviors that might harm others or themselves are discomforted by these behaviors.
What is the mental illness criterion for abnor- mality? What about it is useful, and what about it is problematic?
The mental illness criterion for abnormality suggests that only behaviors resulting from mental illness are abnormal. Although this criterion appears objective, we have no biological tests to indicate illness in people with abnormal behaviors; instead our judgments are always based on subjective symptoms.
What are the four Ds of abnormality?
The four Ds of abnormality are dysfunction, distress, deviance, and dangerousness.
Henry has had multiple arrests for sexual assault and recently was convicted of beating a store clerk unconscious during a holdup. He has been diagnosed with several mental disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disor- der, conduct disorder, and alcohol dependence. The judge at Henry's last trial commented that Henry seemed unconcerned about his own be- havior or the prospect of going to prison. Which of the following is the one criterion by which Henry would not be considered abnormal?
Henry's behaviors violate norms for the culture in which he lives (and most cultures) and are deviant, and he has been diagnosed with mental disorders. He does not seem distressed by his behavior, however.
Define the biological, supernatural, and psychological perspectives on abnormality.
The biological theories saw abnormal behavior as similar to physical diseases, caused by the breakdown of systems in the body. The supernatural theories saw abnormal behavior as being a result of divine intervention, curses, demonic possession, and personal sin. The psychological theories saw abnormal behavior as being a result of a trauma, such as bereavement or chronic stress.
What is trephination?
Trephination is the practice of drilling holes in the skull, possibly in order to release evil spirits causing abnormal behavior.
How did the ancient Chinese medical texts view abnormality?
Abnormal behaviors were often described as medical disorders in ancient Chinese writings, although there is also evidence that they were viewed as being due to supernatural forces.
How did Greek and Roman philosophers and physicians view abnormality?
Greek and Roman philosophers viewed abnormality as being due primarily to medical illness, or possibly to psychological stress.
How did the witch hunts of the late Middle Ages reflect the views of abnormality in those times?
Some people accused as witches may have had mental disorders, but people of those times viewed such people as being possessed by the devil.
What are psychic epidemics?
Psychic epidemics are incidences of groups of people engaging in abnormal behaviors at the same time without an apparent cause.
What is moral treatment? What roles did Philippe Pinel and Dorothea Dix play in re- forming the care of people with psychological problems?
Moral treatment was designed to restore patients' self-restraint by treating them with respect and dignity and encouraging them to exercise self-control. Philippe Pinel was an advocate of moral treatment in France, and Dorothea Dix established many asylums for moral treatment in the United States.
Suppose you were being treated for symptoms of depression during ancient Greek times by a physician following Hippocrates' beliefs about the causes of abnormal behav- ior.To what would this physician likely attrib- ute your symptoms?
Hippocrates believed that all mental disorders were caused by imbalances in one of the four bodily humors: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile.
Roy went to see a therapist to under- stand why he had trouble getting motivated in school.The therapist asked Roy to describe sit- uations in which he felt less motivated and those in which he felt more motivated. What approach is Roy's therapist likely taking?
Roy's therapist most likely is taking a behavioral approach, trying to understand the reinforcing and punishing situations that are increasing and decreasing Roy's motivation.
What role did Kraepelin's classification scheme play in the development of modern biological theories and therapies?
Kraepelin's classification scheme is the basis of our modern diagnostic systems and contributed greatly to the advances in research and treatment of mental disorders.
What role did the discovery that syphilis causes general paresis play in the emergence of modern theories of abnormality?
The discovery that syphilis causes general paresis was one of the first clear demonstrations that biological changes in the body could cause psychological symptoms.
What is the connection between Anton Mesmer and the development of psychoanalysis?
Mesmer's work with hypnosis motivated Jean Charcot, and later Sigmund Freud, to investigate the role of unconscious processes in psychological symptoms.
How do behavioral perspectives explain abnormality?
Behavioral theorists believe that all behaviors, normal and abnormal alike, are the result of reinforcements and punishments.
How do cognitive perspectives explain abnormality?
Cognitive theorists believe that psychological symptoms are the result of maladaptive thought processes.
What was the goal of the deinstitutionalization movement? What were some of the conse- quences of this movement?
The goal of the deinstitutionalization movement was to move mental patients from custodial mental health facilities, where they were isolated and received little treatment, to community-based mental health centers. Thousands of patients were released from mental institutions. Unfortunately, community-based mental health centers have never been fully funded or supported, leaving many former mental patients with few resources in the community.
What are managed care systems? What are some of their benefits and problems?
Managed care systems coordinate care from different types of health care providers to provide comprehensive medical care to patients. This can be a great asset to people with long-term, serious disorders. Coverage for mental health problems tends to be limited, however, and many people have no insurance at all.
Sabrina conducts psychotherapy with individuals and can prescribe medications. Which of the following is her profession?
Of the options given, only psychiatrists have the right to prescribe medications.
mental hygiene movement
movement to treat mental patients more humanely and to view mental disorders as medical diseases
symptoms that cause mental, emotional, and/or physical pain
continuum model of abnormality
model of abnormality that views mental disorders not as categorically different from "normal" experiences but as lying somewhere along a continuum from healthy, functional behaviors, thoughts, and feelings to unhealthy, dysfunctional behaviors, thoughts, and feelings
cultural relativism
view that norms among cultures set the standard for what counts as normal behavior, which implies that abnormal behavior can only be defined relative to these norms and that no universal definition of abnormality is therefore possible; only definitions of abnormality relative to a specific culture are possible
criterion for abnormality that suggests that abnormal behaviors are rare or unexpected
in defining abnormality, the view that behaviors should be considered abnormal only if the individual suffers distress and wishes to be rid of the behaviors
mental illness
phrase used to refer to a physical illness that causes severe abnormal thoughts, behaviors, and feelings
biological theories
theories of abnormality that focus on biological causes of abnormal behaviors
supernatural theories
theories that see mental disorders as the result of supernatural forces, such as divine intervention, curses, demonic possession, and/or personal sins; mental disorders then can be cured through religious rituals, exorcisms, confessions, and/or death
psychological theories
theories that view mental disorders as caused by psychological processes, such as beliefs, thinking styles, and coping styles
procedure in which holes were drilled in the skulls of people displaying abnormal behavior, presumably to allow evil spirits to depart their bodies; performed in the Stone Age
psychic epidemics
phenomena in which large numbers of people begin to engage in unusual behaviors that appear to have a psychological origin
managed care
health care system in which all necessary services for an individual patient are supposed to be coordinated by a primary care provider; the goals are to coordinate services for an existing medical problem and to prevent future medical problems
day treatment centers
mental health facilities that allow people to obtain treatment, along with occupational and rehabilitative therapies, during the day but to live at home at night
halfway houses
living facilities that offer people with long-term mental health problems the opportunity to live in a structured, supportive environment while they are trying to reestablish employment and ties to family and friends
community mental health centers
institutions for the treatment of people with mental health problems in the community; may include teams of social workers, therapists, and physicians who coordinate care
community mental health movement
movement launched in 1963 that attempted to provide coordinated mental health services to people in community-based treatment centers
movement in which thousands of mental patients were released from mental institutions; a result of the patients' rights movement, which was aimed at stopping the dehumanization of mental patients and at restoring their basic legal rights
patients' rights movement
movement to ensure that mental patients retain their basic rights and to remove them from institutions and care for them in the community
moral treatment
type of treatment delivered in mental hospitals in which patients were treated with respect and dignity and were encouraged to exercise self-control
general paresis
disease that leads to paralysis, insanity, and eventually death; discovery of this disease helped establish a connection between biological diseases and mental disorders
treatment for hysterical patients based on the idea that magnetic fluids in the patients' bodies are affected by the magnetic forces of other people and objects; the patients' magnetic forces are thought to be realigned by the practitioner through his or her own magnetic force
form of treatment for psychopathology involving alleviating unconscious conflicts driving psychological symptoms by helping people gain insight into their conflicts and finding ways of resolving these conflicts
study of the impact of reinforcements and punishments on behavior
thoughts or beliefs
self-efficacy beliefs
beliefs that one can engage in the behaviors necessary to overcome a situation