Abnormal Psychology

Major Concepts

- Perspectives on psychological disorders

- Types of psychological disorders

Perspectives on Disorders

Psychological disorders are defined by patterns of behavior, thoughts, or feelings that are

  • Deviant
  • Distressful
  • Dysfunctional

Key Vocabulary

Medical Model - the concept that psychological disorders have physical causes that can be diagnosed, treated, and, in most cases, cured

DSM-IV-TR - the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition

Biopsychosocial Approach - approach that studies how biological, psychological, and social-cultural factors interact to produce specific disorders (see below)

Key People

Martin Seligman - helped develop the "un-DSM" that offers a catalog of human strengths based on wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence

Kenneth Bianchi - known as "The Hillside Strangler," Bianchi pretended to suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder, now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. He claimed that another personality of his, Steve, took over his mind and raped and murdered ten women in California. The court ultimately convicted him after it later found that Bianchi had read about the disorder and faked it.

Types of Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Somatoform Disorders

Dissociative Disorders

Mood Disorders


Personality Disorders

Rates of Disorders

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