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PSYC 152 - Abnormal Psychology

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					PSYC 152 - Abnormal Psychology
Tues & Thurs, 9:30-10:45 AM
Spring, 2004


Instructor
Stephanie Anne Nelson
Email: sanelson@uvm.edu
Phone: 656-4156
Office Hours: Thurs 11-2
      Or By Appointment
Office: 356 Dewey Hall


Graduate Teaching Assistant
GTA: Dicle Turkoglu
Email: Dicle.Turkoglu@uvm.edu
Phone: 656-3459
Hours: Tues 10:45-12:45
        Thurs 10:45-11:45
Office: 234 Dewey Hall


Students
   Now that you know a little about us, it’s time to learn a little about
    you
   You should have a handout listing descriptions of your fellow
    students followed by blanks
   Get as many signatures as you can - including the names/contact
    info of two other students
   The first few students to get all the signatures will receive prizes!!!


Syllabus
Please   make sure you have a syllabus before you leave

 Please read the syllabus before next class - we will only be
reviewing the highlights today
Course Website
    http://sanelson.pageout.net
      – Select PSYC 152: Abnormal Psychology

    Available on the website:
      – Syllabus, Grade Book, Discussion Site, Web Links
      – Course Content - Powerpoint Slides from class, TA’s notes, Learning
        Objectives, Handouts, Links to websites related to the lecture, etc.

    You must register on the website as a requirement of this course


Text and Casebook
Durand    & Barlow’s Essentials of Abnormal Psychology (3rd Edition)

   Oltmanns, Neale, & Davidson’s Case Studies in Abnormal Psychology (6th Edition)


Requirements
    3 exams
      –   Multiple Choice
      –   Not cumulative; 4-5 chapters, 2-4 case studies, 1 movie per exam
      –   Each exam is worth 25% of grade
      –   You are expected to attend all three exams
    1 paper
      – Read a memoir by or about a person with a mental illness
      – Paper answering specific questions about this memoir (see syllabus or
        website for more details)
      – 25% of grade


Comment Box
    There is a comment box available on your way in/out where you
     can place anonymous (or signed) comments
      – If you want a guaranteed response, include your name or email me your
        question

    This is where you can ask about topics from the lecture or reading
     you didn’t understand, voice concerns about the class, make
     suggestions for improvement, praise the hardworking instructor,
     request more candy...
    Comments will be taken seriously
Why Study Abnormal Psychology?
   Almost everyone has problems in living. Because these problems
    are so personal and yet so universal, they have fascinated us
    throughout history and continue to grip our attention today
   As just one example, according to Harper’s (Dec, 2003), the last
    year in which no film, screenplay, or performance related to mental
    illness was nominated for an Oscar was...


What is Psychological Abnormality?

Cannibalism?
Articles are available on the course website for interested students


A.M.
   41 year-old Caucasian (German) male
   Reported having fantasies about killing and eating people since
    age 8
   Advertised on internet sites devoted to cannibalism for “young,
    well-built men aged 18-30 for slaughter”
   43 year-old man responded, agreeing to be killed and eaten (and
    remained consenting throughout). Entire episode videotaped
   Killed, froze, and later consumed his victim

You Decide
   Take a minute to jot down your answers to these questions:
     – Is A.M. “abnormal”?
     – What about his behavior made you believe he is abnormal (or
       normal)?
     – Why or how did A.M. become a cannibal?
     – What should be done with him?


Terms for Abnormal Behavior
   Psychopathology means both the scientific study of mental
    disorders and mental illness
How Do We Determine What or Who is
“Abnormal”?
   There are no universally agreed upon criteria!
   However, the “4 Ds” are often cited:

    – Deviance - unusual, rare, extreme
    – Distress - unpleasant, upsetting
    – Dysfunction - interferes with life
    – Danger - poses risk of harm

   (Did you have any of those criteria in your list of what made A.M.
    abnormal?)


Deviance - From What?
   From societal expectations
       • Stated and unstated rules about how a person should behave (can vary
         by circumstance)
   From gender norms
       • Are there behaviors that are “acceptable” for men but not for women?
   From developmental norms
       • What behaviors would be “acceptable” for a two year-old that would not
         be acceptable in an adult?
   From person’s own norms
       • Often, people know they are unwell because they don’t feel “like
         themselves”



Deviance
   Deviance is the most frequently cited criteria for determining
    abnormal behavior, and intuitively, this seems to make sense

   However, deviance is actually quite unreliable as a criteria for
    abnormality or mental illness
    – Can you think of a behavior that is statistically rare but which would not be
      considered abnormal?
    – Can you think of something considered a “mental illness” that is actually
      quite common?
Distress
   Many clinical guidelines require behavior to be personally
    distressing before the behavior can be considered a disorder

    – Behavior can be unusual and distressing
    – Behavior can be distressing but not unusual

    – Behavior can be unusual but not distressing - this type of behavior is
      usually considered eccentric. However, for some disorders, the person is
      not actually distressed by their own behavior (examples: mania, psychosis,
      antisocial behavior) but the person is still considered abnormal



Dysfunction
   Abnormal behavoir tends to be dysfunctional; that is, it interferes
    with daily functioning

   Examples include difficulties with:
    –   Caring for self
    –   Completing one’s responsibilities (work, child care)
    –   Social interaction or relationships
    –   Legal problems

   Dysfunction by itself does not mean that the person is abnormal,
    nor does mental illness have to cause dysfunction (for instance, it
    may simply be distressing)


Danger
   Abnormal behavior may actually be dangerous to oneself or others
    – Behavior may simply be careless or confused
    – Behavior could also be overtly hostile or self-destructive
    – Behavior may prevent person from performing necessary tasks (e.g., going
      to a doctor)

   Although the general public often equates psychological
    abnormality with danger, dangerousness is the exception rather
    than the rule. Also, dangerous behavior by itself does not
    necessarily qualify as abnormal
Definition of a Psychological Disorder
   A psychological disorder (also called a mental illness, abnormal
    behavior, or psychopath-ology) is “a psychological dysfunctional
    within an individual associated with distress or impairment in
    functioning and a response that is not typical or culturally expected”

   How does this definition relate to the four D’s just discussed?


So… Which Criteria Does A.M. Meet?
   Is his behavior deviant? From whom?
   Does his behavior cause him distress?
   Does his behavior cause him dysfunction?
   Does his behavior present a danger to himself or others?

   Is A.M. abnormal? Does A.M. have a psychological disorder?


Psychiatrist’s
Opinion
Diagnosed   A.M. with a personality disorder, but determined that he
was competent to stand trial, that he did not need to be in a mental
hospital, and that he should not be found not guilty by reason of
insanity

Next Class
   Historical context of Abnormal Behavior
    – How was abnormal behavior viewed in the past? What were some of the
      ideas about what caused mental illness, how mentally ill people should be
      viewed, and how mental illness should be treated?

   Please read the syllabus and Chapter One in Durand & Barlow

				
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