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Psychological Disorders. Chapter 13 George S. Robinson, Jr., Ph.D. Department of Psychology North Carolina A&T State University. Abnormal Behavior. Criteria of Abnormality statistical rarity interference with normal functioning personal distress deviance from social norms

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Psychological Disorders

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Psychological Disorders

Chapter 13

George S. Robinson, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of Psychology

North Carolina A&T State University

Abnormal Behavior

  • Criteria of Abnormality

    • statistical rarity

    • interference with normal functioning

    • personal distress

    • deviance from social norms

  • Abnormal (definition)

    • term used to describe behavior that is rare or dysfunctional, causes personal distress, or deviates from social norms


  • Insanity

    • legal ruling that a person accused of a crime is not held responsible for that act; defined in most states as the inability to tell the difference between right and wrong at the time the crime is committed

Models of Abnormal Behavior

  • Medical model

  • psychological models

    • psychodynamic model

    • behavioral model

    • cognitive model

    • sociocultural model

  • biopsychosocial model

Classifying and Counting Psychological Disorders

  • DSM-IV - diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders

  • labeling

  • prevalence - percentage in the population with the disorder

  • incidence - rate of new cases reported in a population

Anxiety Disorders

  • Anxiety- general feeling of apprehension characterized by behavioral, cognitive, or physiological symptoms

    • phobias

    • panic disorder

    • generalized anxiety disorder

    • obsessive-compulsive disorder

Somatoform Disorders

  • Somatoform disorders - disorders involving physical complaints that do not have a known medical cause but are related to psychological factors

    • hypochondriasis

    • somatization disorder

    • conversion disorder

Dissociative Disorder

  • Dissociative disorder - disorders affecting a function of the mind, such as memory for events, knowledge of one’s identity, or consciousness

    • dissociative amnesia

    • dissociative fugue

    • dissociative identity disorder

      • (multiple personality disorder)

Mood Disorders

  • Depression

    • Symptoms: sadness, reduced energy, lack of interest in activities, sleep disturbances, eating disturbances, excessive crying, possible thoughts of suicide

  • Dysthymic disorder (dysthymia)

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

  • Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive)

  • Cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia)

Causes of Mood Disorders

  • Biological explanations

    • Genetic

    • Neurotransmitters

  • Psychodynamic explanation

  • Cognitive and behavioral explanations

    • Learned helplessness – belief that one cannot control outcomes through one’s actions

      • Hopelessness – belief system and the way they explain the situation

      • Arbitrary inference – conclusion drawn in the absence of supporting information


  • Schizophrenia

    • Psychotic disorder characterized by positive symptoms (excesses) such as delusions, hallucinations, and fluent but disorganized speech or negative symptoms (deficits) such as flat or blunted affect

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

  • Positive symptoms

    • Delusions, hallucinations (auditory, visual, somatosensory), disturbed emotions, loose associations, word salad, clang associations (i.e., eating wires and lighting fires)

  • Negative symptoms

    • Poverty of speech, poverty of content, avolition (difficulty making decisions), flattened affect, social withdrawal, apathy,

Subtypes of Schizophrenia

  • Catatonic

    • Unusual motor symptoms

  • Disorganized

    • Incoherent speech, inappropriate affect

  • Paranoid

    • Delusions of persecution or grandeur, auditory hallucinations

  • Residual

    • No delusions, hallucinations, or incoherent language, but continuation of social withdrawal and odd beliefs

  • Undifferentiated

    • Diagnosis that do not fit other subtypes

Causes of Schizophrenia

  • Genetic (strong link)

  • Neurochemical (overactive dopamine)

  • Enlarged ventricles

  • Smaller thalamus

  • Stress and environmental factors

Personality Disorders

  • Personality disorders

    • Class of disorders marked by extreme, inflexible personality traits that cause subjective distress or impaired social and occupational functioning

Personality Disorders – cont.

  • 1. Anxious / fearful

    • Avoidant personality disorder

      • A pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation

    • Dependent personality disorder

      • A pattern of submissive and clinging behavior related to an excessive need to be taken care of

    • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

      • A pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control

Personality Disorders – cont.

  • 2. Odd / eccentric

    • Schizotypal personality disorder

      • A pattern of acute discomfort in close relationships, cognitive or perceptual distortions, and eccentricities of behavior

    • Paranoid personality disorder

      • A pattern of distrust and suspiciousness such that others’ motives are interpreted as malevolent

Personality Disorders – cont.

  • 3. dramatic / impulsive

    • Histrionic personality disorder

      • A pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking

    • Narcissistic personality disorder

      • A pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy

    • Borderline personality disorder

      • A pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity

    • Antisocial personality disorder

      • A pattern of disregard for, and violation of the rights of others

Etiology of Personality Disorders

  • Lack of inhibitions (biological predisposition)

  • Dysfunctional family

  • Learned behavior

Sexual Disorders

  • Gender identity disorder (transsexualism)

    • Sexual disorder characterized by a person’s belief that he or she was born with the wrong biological sex organs

  • Paraphilia

    • Sexual arousal by objects or situations not considered sexual by most people

  • Fetishism

    • Paraphilia involving sexual arousal by unusual objects or body parts

Sexual Disorders – Paraphilias

  • Exhibitionism – compulsion to expose one’s genitals in public

  • Fetishism – nonhuman object preferred for sexual arousal

  • Frotteurism – sexual arousal by rubbing nonconsenting persons

  • Klismaphilia – sexual arousal linked to giving or receiving enemas

  • Mysophilia – arousal from presence or use of filth

  • Necrophilia – pleasure from viewing or having contact with a corpse

  • Pedophilia – sexual relations with children as preferred method

  • Sexual sadism and masochism – sexual gratification linked to pain

  • Transvestic fetishism – arousal by wearing opposite-sex clothing

  • Voyeurism – desire to watch others having sexual relations

  • Zoophilia – sexual activity with animals

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