Learning outcomes

This page provides information for three of the learning outcomes. Two are listed below. The third (on specific considerations is listed further down the page.

Explain, where appropriate, how cultural, ethical, gender and methodological considerations may affect the interpretation of dysfunctional behaviour

Discuss the diagnosis and classification of dysfunctional behaviour

  • purpose and functions of diagnosis
  • usefulness of classificatory systems
  • Diagnostic process for depression (look at reading packet)
  • Diagnostic process for schizophrenia (look at reading packet)

Diagnosing abnormality

(for each of the topics below, please remember to refer to your reading packet)
Remember that the whole point of diagnosis is so treatment can be implemented.

Concepts of normality and abnormality

Task 1
Reading 1: Glassman & Hadad, pages 410 – 413
Once you have read the set pages from Glassman, complete the following:
1. Answer the ‘Try it yourself’ on page 412. Make sure you answer all questions in order.
2. Create a timeline for the historical context of abnormality, and the changes that took place in diagnosis and treatment
3. Post your answer to the ‘Try it yourself’ on our Psychology blog, as a response to my last post.

Task 2
Now read the handout ‘Defining normalcy in Psychology’.
Using this and your reading from Task 1, plan an answer for the question below. Your plan should be sufficient for an 800-word essay. How would you deal with this question? I am expecting to see a detailed plan.

To what extent are concepts of “normality” and “abnormality” affected by cultural considerations?
Review your answer. Have you supported your answer with specific explanations?

Review your notes. Can you discuss factors that affect the diagnosis of abnormality?


Usefulness of classification systems

We will investigate the medical model of dysfunctional behaviour and its assumptions, in relation to depression as an example of dysfunctional behaviour.

Task 1: ‘Classifying abnormal behavior’
Read pages 412 – 417, Glassman & Hadad
• You need to read these pages before beginning work on the medical model and depression.
• We will then return to the topic of classification in a later lesson.

Please complete the following as you read (you may do this in point form):
1. Define the DSM-IV-TR
2. Identify two goals of this classification system
3. Identify one problem of this classification system.
4. Define the word ‘aetiology’ (also spelled ‘etiology’)

Task 2: Depression and the medical model

Reading: pages 418 – 420, Glassman & Hadad

In preparation for our discussion next class (and using point form):
1. Identify the basic assumptions of the medical model in relation to depression.
2. Summarize the biological approach to the etiology of depression (review the previous work done on depression during the biological approach, and integrate this material)

Class power points


Issues of reliability and validity
For schizophrenia
  • Comorbidity and psychosis prone healthy individuals go against the idea of categories
  • Difficult to distinguish between the 5 types of schizophrenia
  • Rosenhan's study - psychiatrists couldn't distinguish between schizophrenics and normals.

Strengths and limitations of classification systems

An overview of Psychopathology

click on the link below to view the VoD from Annenberg Media that we have been watching in class

(for each of the topics below, please remember to refer to your reading packet)

Learning outcome

Explain, where appropriate, how cultural, ethical, gender and methodological considerations may affect the interpretation of dysfunctional behaviour

Keep in mind that you should have detailed notes on at least TWO items from each of the following areas of consideration.
An essay question may focus on a specific area of consideration.
HOWEVER, keep in mind the markbands of paper II. I have pasted in the criteria for the top markband.

Markband 17 to 20
The demands of the question are addressed effectively in a focused and logical structure. Arguments are supported by appropriate knowledge and understanding and in-depth analysis. Evaluation is balanced and well developed. Cultural, ethical, gender or methodological considerations are an integral part of the response.

Not referring to any of those considerations will severely affect your grade in the essay.

Ethical considerations in diagnosis

(Make sure you are familiar with the Ethics page on the wiki)
  1. labeling can result in stigmatization; people may be socially excluded
  2. one adverse effect of this is the self-fulfilling prophecy
  3. another adverse effect is that labels can lead to discrimination
  4. Racial/ethnic bias may affect validity of diagnosis
  5. Confirmation bias may also affect validity of diagnosis

Methodological considerations in diagnosis

Variations in diagnostic methodology can affect the diagnoses that patients receive
You should look at the limitations involved in the following methods:
  1. a standardized clinical interview (checklist of questions)
  2. observations of behavior
  3. brain-scanning techniques
  4. the role of the clinician (knowledge, experience, theoretical orientation)

Be able to discuss limitations in the context of 1 study for each of the above

Cultural considerations in diagnosis

  1. Some disorders are believed to be culturally specific - culture bound syndromes
  2. Some disorders appear not to be present in some cultures
  3. Symptoms may differ depending on the culture
  4. Culture blindness on the part of the clinician may affect diagnosis

Exam questions

Question 1 (November 2006)
With reference to empirical studies, discuss diagnosis of dysfunctional behaviour. [20 marks]

Question 2 (November 2008)
(a) Outline the main features of one classificatory system. [6 marks]
(b) To what extent is the use of a classificatory system effective in the diagnostic process? [14 marks]

Question 3 (November 2006)
Compare and contrast two classificatory systems used in the psychology of dysfunctional behaviour. [20 marks]

See the googledocs class answers