psychopathology summary pt.1 (Definitions of abnormality (Statistical…
psychopathology summary pt.1
Definitions of abnormality
Statistics describe typical values
A frequency graph of behaviours tends to shows a normal distribution
The extreme ends define what is not the norm, i.e. abnormal
Some behaviour is desirable - can't distinguish desirable from undesirable abnormal behaviour
Cut-off point is subjective - important for deciding who gets treatment
Sometimes appropriate- e.g. for intellectual disability defined as less than 2 standard deviations below mean IQ
Cultural relativism - statistical frequency is relative to the reference population
Deviation from social norms
Norms defined by a group of people ('society')
Standards of what is acceptable
May be implicit defined by law
Susceptible to abuse - varies with changing attitudes/morals, can be used to incarcerate those who are nonconformists
Related to context and degree - e.g. shouting is normal in some places and in moderation
Strengths - distinguishes desirable from undesirable behaviour, and considers effects on others
Cultural relativism - social norms of dominant culture used as basis for DSM, imposed on other cultural groups.
Failure to function adequately
Being unable to manage everyday life, e.g. eating regularly
Lack of functioning is abnormal if it causes distress to self and/or others
WHODAS used to provide a quantitative measure of functioning
Distress may be judged subjectively
Behaviour may be be functional - e.g. depression may be rewarding for the individual
Strengths - recognised subjective experience of individual, can be measure objectively
Cultural relativism - standards of everyday day life vary between cultures, non-traditional lifestyles may be judged as inadequate.
Deviation from ideal mental health
Jahoda identified characteristics commonly used when describing competent people.
For example: high self-esteem, self-actualisation, autonomy, accurate perception of reality, mastery of the environment.
Unrealistic criteria - may not be usable because too ideal
Equates mental and physical health - whereas mental disorders tend not to have physical causes
Positive approach - a general part of the humanistic approach
Culture-bound criteria, e.g. self-actualisation not relevant to collectivist cultures.
Emotional, excessive fear, anxiety and/or panic cued by a specific object or situation
Behavioural avoidance, faint or freeze. Interferes with everyday life.
Cognitive not helped by rational argument, unreasonableness of the behaviour recognised
Emotional: negative emotions - sadness, loss of interest and sometimes anger
Behavioural: reduced or increased activity related to energy levels, sleeping and/or eating
Cognitive: irrational, negative thoughts and self-beliefs that are self-fulfilling
Emotional: anxiety and distress, and awareness that this is excessive, leading to shame
Cognitive: recurrent, intrusive, uncontrollable thoughts (obsessions), more than everyday worries
Behavioural: compulsive behaviours to reduce obsessive thoughts, not connected in a realistic way.
The behavioural approach
Classical conditioning - phobia acquired through association between NS and UCR; NS becomes CS, producing fear.
Little Albert (Watson and Rayner) - developed fear which generalised to other furry white objects
Operant conditioning - phobia maintained through negative reinforcement (avoidance of fear).
Social learning - phobic behaviour of others modelled
Classical conditioning - people often report a specific incident but not always, may only apply to some types of phobia (Sue et al.)
Diathesis-stress model - not everyone bitten by a dog develops a phobia (di Nardo et al.) may depend on having a genetic vulnerability for phobias.
Social learning - fear response acquired through observing reaction to a buzzer (Bandura and Rosenthal).
biological preparedness - phobias more likely with ancient fears, conditioning alone can't explain all phobias
Two - process model ignores cognitive factors - irrational thinking may explain social phobias, for example, which are more successful treated with cognitive methods (Engels et al.)
Systematic de-sensitisation (SD)
Counterconditioning - phobic stimulus associated with new response of relaxation
Reciprocal inhibition the relaxation inhibits the anxiety (Wolpe).
Relaxation - deep breathing, focus on peaceful scene, progressive muscle relaxation
Desensitisation hierarchy - from least to most fearful, relaxation practised at every step
Effectiveness - 75% success (McGrath et al.) in vivo techniques may not work better or a combination (Corner).
Not all phobias - works less well for 'ancient fears' (Ohman et al.).
Strengths - behavioural therapies are for and require less effort than CBT, can be self-administered
One long session with the most fearful stimulus
Continues until anxiety subsides and relaxation is complete
Can be in vivo or virtual reality
Individual differences - traumatic and, if patients quit, then has failed as a treatment
Effectiveness - research suggests it may be more effective than SD and quicker (Choy et al.).
Relaxation may not be necessary - creating a new expectation of coping may matter more (Klein et al.).
Symptom substitution - a phobia may be a symptom of an underlying problem (e.g. Little Hans).