AQA AS Psychology: Psychopathology

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Psyhopathology
Defined as 'disease of the mind', also known as mental health.
Abnormality
Deviating from the average. There are many different definitions of abnormality.
Statistical infrequency
This definition suggests that behaviours that are statistically rare are abnormal. Statistics are collected to measure characteristics are distributed among the population. A standard deviation graph is used to decide what is rare.
Deviation from social norms
Displaying behaviour that deviates from the norm in society is considered abnormal. However norms differ across cultures so deviance will be seen differently depending on culture. It needs to be considered how far the norm has been deviated and its importance.
Deviation from ideal mental health
Sees abnormality as an absence of wellbeing. Jahoda created a criteria of characteristics of ideal mental health. If an individual doesn't meet this criteria they can be considered abnormal.
Failure to function adequately
An individual can be considered abnormal if their behaviour suggests that they can't cope with everyday life. Rosenhan and Segelman's features of personal dysfunction show symptoms of abnormality.
Phobias
A type of anxiety disorder characterised by extreme irrational fears. The sufferer experiences anxiety that is out of proportion to the actual risk posed by a certain stimuli.
Cognitive characteristics of phobias
Awareness of irrationality of the anxiety caused by the feared object/situation.
Behavioural characteristics of phobias
The sufferer will make efforts to avoid the object/situation that cause them anxiety. Their phobic can also interfere with their everyday lives.
Emotional characteristics of phobias
Sufferers experience persistent fear due to both anticipation of the feared situation/object and immediate fear responses when exposed to it.
The two-process model
Phobias are brought on through classical conditioning: the sufferer develops negative associations with a certain object/situation after a bad experience. Phobias are maintained through operant conditioning: avoiding the feared object/situation to reduce anxiety acts as negative reinforcement.
Watson and Raynor
A case study of Little Albert (11 month old baby). He interacted with white fluffy stimuli such as a white rabbit and cotton wool with no fear response. Next, whenever he touched the stimuli a bar was hit with a hammer, inducing a fear response which created an association. After this Albert showed fear when exposed to the stimuli without the noise.
Systematic desensitisation
Wolpe suggested that phobias can be treated through classical conditioning. A hierarchy of least to most feared situation is established, and the patient works their way up it. Anxiety is replaced with relaxation using pre-learned strategies at each step.
Flooding
The patient is exposed to their most feared situation immediately, 'flooding' the system with anxiety which eventually subsides.
Brosnan and Thorpe
Studied systematic desensitisation. 30 technophobes and 59 in a control group. Over 1 academic year, the treated groups anxiety lowered to the same level as the control group.
Depression
A mood disorder which involves a prolonged and fundamental disturbance of mood and emotion, without manic episodes.
Cognitive characteristics of depression
Sufferers experience delusions associated with guilt and inadequacy. They can suffer memory problems, reduced concentration and thoughts of death.
Behavioural characteristics of depression
Depression can lead to reduced energy, weight changes, poor personal hygiene, reduced social interaction and insomnia or oversleeping.
Emotional characteristics of depression
Sufferers may feel less enthusiastic, worthless or guilty, and be in a constantly depressed mood.
Becks negative triad
An explanation for depression, suggesting that sufferers see the world negatively due to negative schemas. These schemas are learned in childhood/adolescence due to unreal demands of authority figures. [Neg. views about world ➡️ Neg. views about future ➡️ Neg. views about oneself 🔁].
Koster et al
Showed Ps a negative, positive or neutral word on a screen which then disappeared, and Ps had to say where it was on the screen. Ps with depression took longer disengage from neg. words which shows how they focus more on negatives. This supports Becks negative triad.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy
Patient and therapist work together to identify and challenge negative thoughts in relation to Beck's negative triad. Patients are set homework, to record whenever they enjoy an event for example, which can be used later to prove negative thoughts wrong.
Lincoln
Used questionnaires to identify stroke victims suffering from depression. 19 were given CBT which resulted in reduced symptoms, which supports the use of CBT as a treatment for depression.
Ellis's ABC model
This model says that an activating event (a negative experience/event) leads to irrational beliefs being formed, such as we must always succeed. There are emotional and behavioural consequences to this process.
Rational emotive behavioural therapy
Adds 'DE' to the ABC model. Irrational beliefs are disputed by looking at if there is any evidence to support beliefs, and the effect of this is that irrational beliefs are replaced with rational ideas.
David et al
Treated 170 patients for 14 weeks with REBT. This produced a better outcome than those treated with drugs for 6 months. This shows the strength of REBT, a cognitive treatment for depression.
Obsessive compulsive disorder
An anxiety disorder where sufferers experience obsessive thoughts which can lead to irrational compulsions.
Obsessions
Inappropriate ideas and visual images that aren't based in reality and cause extreme anxiety in the sufferer.
Compulsions
Behaviours performed as a result of obsessions, as an attempt to reduce the anxiety they are experiencing.
Cognitive characteristics of OCD
Sufferers have recurring and intrusive thoughts, but are usually aware that what they are thinking is irrational. They may have an attention all bias: they focus on anxiety generating stimuli.
Behavioural characteristics of OCD
Avoidance of situations that cause anxiety and compulsions or ritualistic behaviour may be performed.
Emotional characteristics of OCD
Experiencing obsessive thoughts can be frightening and overwhelming, leading to anxiety. Sufferers are also affected by irrational guilt.
Genetic explaination of OCD
This is a biological idea that OCD is inherited genetically. Specifically, the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine have been found to create a vulnerability for OCD.
Taylor
Found that OCD is polygenic (more than one gene involved) after discovering evidence that up to 230 genes may be involved.
Neural explanation of OCD
PET scans have revealed that OCD sufferers have an abnormality in their brain. This includes the idea that low serotonin levels can affect the neural transmission of mood related info.
Hu
Compared the serotonin levels of 169 OCD sufferers and 253 non-sufferers. They found that serotonin levels were lower in those with OCD, supporting the idea that low serotonin causes the illness.
Evolutionary explaination
An alternative explanation for OCD which suggests that compulsive behaviours are exaggerations of prehistoric adaptations.
Drug therapy
This type of therapy works chemically and aims to increase or decrease the amount or activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. As low levels of serotonin has been associated with OCD, drugs work to increase this neurotransmitter. Drugs are also often used alongside CBT.
SSRIs
Selective serotonin reputable inhibitor: A drug therapy used to treat OCD which raises levels of serotonin by preventing their reabsorption in the brain.
Pigott and Seay
Reviewed studies on the effectiveness of drug therapies. They found that although the tricyclic drug clomipramine was a bit more effective, it had more side effects. This suggests that SSRIs should initially be used as a treatment.