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the study of abnormal behavior

situational context

the social or environmental setting of a person's behavior

subjective discomfort

emotional distress or emotional pain


anything that does not allow a person to function within or adapt to the stesses and everyday demands of life

sociocultural perspective

perspective in which abnormal behavior (as well as normal behavior) is seen as the product of the learning and shaping of behavior within the context of the family, the social group to which one belongs, and the culture within which the family and social group exist.

cultural relativity

the need to consider the unique characteristics of the culture in which behavior takes place.

cultrue-bound syndromes

disorders found only in particular cultures.

psychological disorder

any pattern of behavior that causes people signifcant distress, causes them to harm others, or harms their ability to function in daily life.

Axis I

clinical disorders, contains the disorders that bring most people to the attention of a psychological professional. all psychological disorders except personality

Axis II

personality disorders along with mental retardation

Axis III

physical disorders that affect a person's psychological well-being, such as juvenile diabetes, chromosome disorders such as Klinefelter's syndrome, and high blood pressure

Axis IV

contains informantion about problems in the person's life that might affect adjustment, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or poverty.

Axis V

Global Assesment of Functioning, is an overall judgement made by the psychological professional of the person's mental health and adjustment, rating on a scale of 0 to 100

biological model

model of explaining behavior as caused by biological changes in the chemical, structual, or genetic systems of the body

cognitive psychologists

psychologist who study the way people think, remember, and mentally organize information.

biopsychosocial model

perspective in which abnormal behavior is seen as the result of the combined and interacting forces of biological, psychological, social, and cultural influences.

anxiety disorders

disorder in which the main symptom is excessive or unrealistic anxiety and fearfulness.

free-floating anxiety

anxiety that is unrelated to any realistic, known source


an irrational, persistant fear of an object, situation or social activity

social phobia

fear of interacting with others or being in social situations that might lead to a negative evaluation

specific phobia

fear of objects or specific situations or events


fear of being in a small, enclosed space


fear of heights


fear of being in a place or situation form which escape is difficult or impossible

panic attack

sudden onset of intense panic in which multiple physical symtoms of stress occur, often with feelings that one is dying

panic disorder

disorder in which panic attacks occur frequently enough to cause the person difficulty in adjusting to daily life

panic disorder with agoraphobia

fear of leaving one's familiar surroundings because one might have a panic attack in public

obsessive-compulsive disorder

disorder in which intruding, recurring thoughts or obsessions create anxiety that is relieved by performing a repetitive, ritualistic behavior or mental act (compulsion).

acute stress disorder (ASD)

a disorder resulting from exposure to a major stressor, with symptoms of anxiety, dissociation, recurring nightmares, sleep disturbances, problems in concentration, and moments in which people seem to "relive" the event in dreams and flashbacks for a long as 1 month following the event.

posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

a disorder resulting from exposure to a major stressor, with symptoms of anxiety, dissociation, nightmares, poor sleep, reliving the event and concentration problems, lasting for more than 1 month.

generalized anxiety disorder

disorder in which a person has feelings of dread and impending doom along with physical symptoms of stress, which lasts 6 months or more.


the tendency to interpret situations as far more dangerous, harmful, or important than they actually are.

all-or-nothing thinking

the tendency to believe that one's performance must be perfect or the result will be a total failure.


the tendency to interpret a single negative event a never-ending pattern of defeat and failure.


the tendency to give little or no importance to one's successes or positive events and traits.


in psychology in term indicating "emotion" or "mood"

mood disorders

disorders in which mood is severly disturbed

major depression

severe depressio that comes on suddenly and seems to have no external cause or is too severe for current circumstances.


having the quality of excessive excitement, energy, and elation or irritability.

bipolar disorder

severe mood swings between major depressive episodes and manic episodes

seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

a mood disorder caused by the body's reatcion to low levels of sunlight in the winter months.

anorexia nervosa (anorexia)

a condition in which a person reduces eating in the point that a weight loss of 15 percent below the ideal body weight or more occurs.

bulimia nervosa (bulimia)

a condition in which a person develps a cycle of "binging" or overeating eating enormous amounts of food at one sitting and then using unhealthy methods to avoid weight gain.

dissociative disorder

disorders in which there is a break in conscious awareness, memory, the sense of identity, or some combination.

dissociative amnesia

loss of memory for personal information, either partial or complete

dissociative fugue

traveling away from familiar surroundings with amnesia about the trip and possible amnesia for perosnal information

dissociative identity disorder

disorder occurring when a person seems to have two or more distinct personalities within one body.

depersonalization disorder

dissociative disorder in which individuals feel detached and disconnected from themselves, their bodies, and their surroundings.


severe disorder in which the person suffers from disordered thinking, bizarre behavior, hallucinations and inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.


term applied to a person who is no longer able to percieve what is real and what is fantasy.


false beliefs held by a person who refuses to accept evidence of their falseness.

delusional disorder

a psychotic disorder in which the primary symptom is one or more delusions.


false sensory perceptions, such as hearing voices that do not really exist.

flat affect

a lack of emotional responsiveness


type of schizophrenia in which behavior is bizarre and childish, and thinking, speech, and motor actions are very disordered


type of schizophrenia in which the person experiences periods of statue-like immobility mixed with occasional bursts of energetic, frantic movement, and talking.


type of schizophrenia in which the person suffers from delusions of persecution, grandeur, and jealousy, together with hillucinations.

positive symptoms

symptoms of schizophrenia that are excesses of behavior or occur in addition to normal behavior; hallucinations, delusions, and distorted thinking

negative symptoms

symptoms of schizophrenia that are less than normal behavior or an absence of normal behavior or an absence of normal behavior; poor attention, flat affect, and poor speech production.

stress-vulnerability model

explanation of disorder that assumes a biological sensitivity, or vulnerability, to a certain disorder will result in the development of that disorder under the right conditions of envionmental or emotional stess.

personality disorders

disorders in which a person adopts a persistent, rigid, and maladaptive pattern of behavior that interferes with normal social interactions.

antisocial personality disorder

disorder in which a person has no morals or conscience and often behaves in an impulsive manner without regard for the consequences of that behavior.

borderline personality disorder

maladaptive personality pattern in which a person is moody, unstable, lacks a clear sense of identity, and often clings to others.

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