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Vocab on abnormal behaviors, anxiety disorders, dissociative and somatoform disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders


perceptions experienced in the absence of external stimuli


fixed but patently false beliefs, such as believing that one is being hounded by demons

Culture-bound syndromes

psychological disorders found in only one or a few cultures

Dhat syndrome

culture-bound syndrome found in India in which men develop intense fears about losing semen

Medical model

framework for understanding abnormal behavior patterns as symptoms of underlying physical disorders or diseases

Biopsychosocial model

integrative model for explaining abnormal behavior patterns in terms of the interactions of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors

Diathesis-stress model

type of biopsychosocial model that relates the development of disorders to the combination of a diathesis, or predisposition, usually genetic in origin, and exposure to stressful events or life circumstances


vulnerability or predisposition to developing a disorder

Psychological disorders

abnormal behavior patterns characterized by disturbances in behavior, thinking, perceptions, or emotions that are associated with significant personal distress or impaired functioning

Anxiety disorders

class of psychological disorders characterized by excessive or inappropriate anxiety reactions


excessive fears of particular objects or situations

Social phobis

type of anxiety disorder involving excessive fear of social situations

Specific phobia

phobic reactions involving specific situations or objects


excessive fear of heights


excessive fear of enclosed spaces


excessive, irrational fear of being in public spaces

Panic disorder

type of anxiety disorder involving repeated episodes of sheer terror called panic attacks

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

type of anxiety disorder involving persistent and generalized anxiety and worry

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

type of anxiety disorder involving the repeated occurrence of obsessions and/or compulsions

Anxiety sensitivity

fear of fear, involving excessive concern that anxiety symptoms will spin out of control

Dissociative disorders

class of psychological disorders involving changes in consciousness, memory, or self-identity

Somatoform disorders

class of psychological disorders involving physical ailments or complaints that cannot be explained by organic causes

Dissociative identity disorder (DID)

type of dissociative disorder characterized by the appearance of multiple personalities in the same individual

Conversion disorder

type of somatoform disorder characterized by change or loss of a physical function that cannot be explained by medical causes


somatoform disorder in which there is excessive concern that one's physical complaints are signs of underlying serious illness

Secondary gain

reward value of having a psychological or physical symptom, such as release from ordinary responsibilities

Mood disorders

class of psychological disorders involving disturbances in mood states, such as major depression and bipolar disorder

Major depressive disorder

most common type of depressive disorder, characterized by periods of downcast mood, feelings of worthlessness, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

type of major depression that involves a recurring pattern of winter depressions followed by elevations of mood in the spring and summer

Dysthymic disorder

type of psychological disorder characterized by mild but chronic depression

Bipolar disorder

type of mood disorder characterized by mood swings from extreme elation to severe depression

Manic episodes

periods of mania, or unusually elevated mood and extreme restlessness

Cyclothymic disorder

mood disorder characterized by a chronic pattern of relatively mild mood swings

Learned helplessness model

View that depression results from the perception of a lack of control over the reinforcements in one's life that may result from exposure to uncontrollable negative events

Attributional style

person's characteristic way of explaining outcomes of events in his or her life

Depressive attributional style

characteristic way of explaining negative events in terms of internal, stable, and global causes

Disinhibition effect

removal of normal restraints or inhibitions that serve to keep impulsive behavior in check


severe and chronic psychological disorder characterized by disturbances in thinking, perception, emotions, and behavior

Psychotic disorder

psychological disorder characterized by a 'break' with reality

Thought disorder

breakdown in the logical structure of thought and speech, revealed in the form of a loosening of associations

Positive symptoms

symptoms of schizophrenia involving behavioral excesses, such as hallucinations and delusions

Negative symptoms

behavioral deficits associated with schizophrenia, such as withdrawl and apathy

Disorganized type

subtype of schizophrenia characterized by confused behavior and disorganized delusions, among other features

Catatonic type

subtype of schizophrenia characterized by bizarre movements, postures, or grimaces

Waxy flexibility

feature of catatonic schizophrenia in which people rigidly maintain the body position or posture in which they are placed by others

Paranoid type

most common subtype of schizophrenia, characterized by the appearance of delusional thinking accompanied by frequent auditory hallucinations

Personality disorders

class of psychological disorders characterized by rigid personality traits that impair people's ability to adjust to the demands they face in the environment and that interfere with their relationships with others

Narcissistic personality disorder

type of personality disorder characterized by a grandiose sense of self

Paranoid personality disorder

type of personality disorder characterized by extreme suspiciousness or mistrust of others

Schizoid personality disorder

type of personality disorder characterized by social aloofness and limited range of emotional expression

Borderline personality disorder

type of personality disorder characterized by unstable emotions and self-image

Antisocial personality disorder (APD)

type of personality disorder characterized by callous attitudes toward others and by antisocial and irresponsible behavior

All-or-nothing thinking

viewing events in black or white terms, as either all good or all bad

All-or-nothing thinking example

Do you view an ended relationship as a total failure?

Misplaced blame

tedency to blame or criticize yourself for disappointments or setbacks while ignoring external circumstances

Misplaced blame example

Do you automatically assume when things don't go as planned it's your fault?

Misfortune telling

tendency to think that one disappointment will inevitably lead to another

Misfortune telling example

If you get a rejection letter from a job you applied for, do you assume that all the other applications you sent will meet a similar fate?

Negative focusing

focusng your attention only on the negative aspects of your experiences

Negative focusing example

When you get a job evaluation, do you overlook the praise and focus only on the criticism?

Dismissing the positives

snatchign defeat from the jaws of victory by trivializing or denying your accomplishments; minimizing your strengths or assets

Dismissing the positives example

When someone compliments you, do you find some way of dismissing it by saying something like 'It's no big deal' or 'Anyone could have done it'?

Jumping to conclusions

drawing a conclusion that isn't supported by the facts at hand

Jumping to conclusions example

Do you usually or always expect the worst to happen?


exaggerating the importance of negative events or personal flaws (making mountains of molehills)

Catastrophizing example

Do you react to a disappointing grade on a particular examination as though your whole life is ruined?

Emotion-based reasoning

reasoning based on your emotions rather than on a clear-headed evaluation of the available evidence

Emotion-based reasoning example

Do you think that things are really hopeless because it feels that way?


placing unrealistic demands on yourself that you should or must accomplish certain tasks or reach certain goals

Shouldisms example

Do you feel you should be further along in life than you are?

Name calling

attaching negative labels to yourself or others as a way of explaining your own or others' behavior

Name calling example

Do you label yourself as lazy or stupid when you fall short of reaching your goals?

Mistaken responsibility

assuming that you're the cause of other people's problems

Mistaken responsibility example

Do you automatically assume that your partner is depressed or upset because of something you said or did?

Myth: people who threaten suicide are only seeking attention

Not so. Researchers report most people who commit suicide gave prior indications of their intentions or consulted a health provider beforehand

Myth: a person must be insane to attempt suicide

most people may feel hopeless or out of touch with reality, but they're not 'insane'

Myth: talking about suicide with a depressed person may prompt the person to attempt it

An open suicide discussion with a depressed person doesn't prompt the person to attempt it. In fact, extracting a promise that the person won't attempt suicide before calling or visiting a mental health worker may prevent suicide

Myth: people who attempt suicide and fail aren't serious about killing themselves

most people who commit suicide have made previous unsuccessful attempts

Myth: if someone threatens suicide, it's best to ignore it so as not to encourage repeated threats

though some people do manipulate others by making idle threats, it is prudent to treat every suicidal threat as genuine and to take appropriate action

Axis 1 - clinical disorders/other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention

mental disorders that impair functioning/problems that may warrant attenion but don't represent diagnosable mental disorders

Axis 2 - personality disorders/mental retardation

class of mental disorders characterized by ways of relating to others and adjusting to external demands/generalized delay or impairment in intellectual development

Axis 3 - general medical conditions

illnesses and other medical conditions that may be important to the understanding or treatment of the person's psychological disorder

Axis 4 - psychosocial and environmental problems

problems in the person's social or physical environment that may affect the diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of mental disorders

Axis 5 - global assessment of functioning

overall judgement of the person's level of functioning in meeting the responsibilities of daily life

Medical model

biological underpinnings of abnormal behavior

Psychodynamic model

unconscious conflicts and motives underlying abnormal behavior

Behavioral model

learning experiences that shape the development of abnormal behavior

Humanistic model

roadblocks that hinder self-awareness and self-acceptance

Cognitive model

faulty thinking underlying abnormal behavior

Sociocultural model

social ills contributing to the development of abnormal behavior, such as poverty, racism, and prolonged unemployment; relationships between abnormal behavior and ethnicity, gender, culture, and socioeconomic level

Biopsychosocial model

interactions of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors in the development of abnormal behavior

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