AP Psychology : Defining and Diagnosing Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

Why is a double blind study important to studying certain situations?

Possible Answers:

To conceal information from the participants that they would want to leak to other competing labs

To make sure the tester does not help the participant with their answers to a survey

To make sure the tester cannot, intentionally or unintentionally, reveal information that may sway the results of the study

To conceal information from the tester in case the study is unethical

To keep the participant from sharing information with other participants in the case of group studies

Correct answer:

To make sure the tester cannot, intentionally or unintentionally, reveal information that may sway the results of the study

Explanation:

A double blind study is a study in which information that may change the results is kept both from the experimenter and from the participant. This is to keep the results of the study as neutral and unbiased as possible. 

Example Question #2 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

A woman is feeling depressed about losing her husband to cancer and is unable to pay the bills. The fact that the patient is unable to pay the bills is coded on which axis in the Diagonistic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR)?

Possible Answers:

Axis IV

Axis III

Axis II

Axis I

Correct answer:

Axis IV

Explanation:

Axis IV records "psychological stressors" or external events that happen in a person's life that causes them to have a psychological problem. Debt, such as the inability to pay hostpital bills, would fall on this axis.

Axis I refers to the principle disorder that needs attention, such as major depressive disorder. Axis II lists any personality disorders that may be causing the problem described in Axis I. An example of a disorder that would be listed under Axis II is paranoid personality disorder. Axis III lists any medical or neurological problems that would be relevant to the patient's psychological problems. An example of a problem that would be listed under Axis III is severe asthma.

Example Question #3 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

What does "comorbidity" mean?

Possible Answers:

Having two or more psychiatric diagnoses

Being able to control one's impulses

Refusing to take psychotropic medication as part of treatment

Continuing the work of a deceased researcher in their field of psychology

Death from a psychiatric illness

Correct answer:

Having two or more psychiatric diagnoses

Explanation:

Comorbidity occurs when a patient has multiple diagnoses. Comorbidity is common in psychology, in that most patients have multiple diagnoses (e.g., ADHD & ODD) because psychiatric illnesses typically occur together. 

Example Question #4 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

Which of the following systems has been developed by the American Psychiatric Association for classifying and describing psychiatric conditions?

Possible Answers:

Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)

Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS)

International Classification of Disease (ICD)

United States Pharmacopeia (USP)

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR)

Correct answer:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR)

Explanation:

A uniform system for classifying and describing mental disorders has been developed by the American Psychiatric Association. It is called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The American Medical Association maintains the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set, which is a set of codes that describes medical, surgical, and diagnostic services. The International Classification of Disease (ICD) is used to classify diseases and other health problems. Medicare mandates the use of the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) for reimbursement. The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is a compendium of over-the-counter and prescription drugs. 

Example Question #5 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

Which of the following is the legal term for a severe mental illness that was present at the time a crime was committed and impaired the defendant's capacity to understand the moral wrong of the act?

Possible Answers:

Dementia

Idiocy

Insanity

Psychosis

Neurosis

Correct answer:

Insanity

Explanation:

Insanity is the legal term for a severe mental illness, present at the time a crime was committed, that impaired the defendant's capacity to understand the moral wrong of an act. Insanity is not a medical diagnosis.

Idiocy is any severe mental deficiency present in early childhood. Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function characterized by memory impairment. A psychosis is a mental disorder in which there is a severe loss of contact with reality; it is a common feature of schizophrenia. A neurosis is an unconscious conflict that produces anxiety and leads to the use of defense mechanisms. 

Example Question #6 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

How does one define a psychological abnormality?

Possible Answers:

The average person does not understand or personally relate to the individual's distress

Others may be disturbed or affected by the person's behavior

The individual suffers due to a reocurring problem or disorder

All of these

The person's problem is not shared by many in the population

Correct answer:

The individual suffers due to a reocurring problem or disorder

Explanation:

While this may seem like a very broad definition—perhaps classifying deviant behavior rather than a psychological abnormality—psychological abnormality is defined by this crucial element: the individual suffers due to a reocurring problem or disorder. That is, the individual suffers involuntarily at the hands of the disease and has little control of the symptomatic behavior of the illness. They often want to change their illness as opposed to continuing on how they are. 

 

Example Question #7 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

There are many existing theories on psychopathology and how to diagnose people for disorders. One of the main challenges is putting these theories into practice while many biases, stereotypes, and prejudices against different social sectors of society still persist. Which of the following is a practical example of this dilemma?

Possible Answers:

Many different cultures have different ways of treating the same problem

When showing signs of alcoholism or other kinds of substance abuse, African-American males are more likely to be diagnosed as psychotic than Caucasian males

None of these

All of these

More people in America are being diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder as opposed to other countries

Correct answer:

When showing signs of alcoholism or other kinds of substance abuse, African-American males are more likely to be diagnosed as psychotic than Caucasian males

Explanation:

Common social biases include gender, race, economic class, ethnicity, and many more. Many are not even conscious that they carry these prejudices, and the best we can hope for improvement is to become aware of and change these biases as a society. Current statistics suggest that African-American males are more likely to be diagnostics as psychotic than Caucasian males in instances of subject abuse. This is an example of stereotype and prejudice intersecting professional diagnosis in an increadibly detrimental and socially dangerous manner; even though the individuals may display the same symptoms, they are given different diagnoses.

Example Question #8 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

Which of the following is a real and practical concern of labelling a person with a certain disorder?

Possible Answers:

We do not possess the appropriate medications to treat many of the disorders currently diagnosed

Definitions of diagnoses are constantly evolving as our understanding of psychology improves; a current diagnosis may become obsolete very quickly

Using categorical thinking too frequently may lead us in the wrong scientific direction

All of these

Once a person is diagnosed with a certain condition, it is easy for any stigmas to become permanent despite changes in their condition

Correct answer:

Once a person is diagnosed with a certain condition, it is easy for any stigmas to become permanent despite changes in their condition

Explanation:

One of the major practical concerns with giving a person an official diagnosis is that it may become hard for a person to escape the label of that diagnosis. For instance, if a person is diagnosed as schizophrenic, observers may already have a preconceived notion of that person and behave differently towards them. If the diagnosed person sees they are treated as different, this may reinforce negative behaviors and perpetuate the stigma. Even if the person diagnosed as schizophrenic shows positive progress, observers may still have trouble thinking of them as a healthy, stable person.

Example Question #9 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

Which of the following is not a symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Possible Answers:

Feelings of entitlement

Difficulty accepting criticism

Delusions of grandeur

Need of attention/admiration

Sensitivity to the needs of others

Correct answer:

Sensitivity to the needs of others

Explanation:

Because narcissists are so focused on themselves and their own needs, they often neglect the needs of others, sometimes even exploiting these others for their own gain.

Example Question #10 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

Recently, Joe has realized that he hasn't been enjoying his hobbies or spending time with his friends as much as he used to.

Joe is experiencing __________.

Possible Answers:

Mania

Withdrawal

Anhedonia

Shame

Cognitive Dissonance

Correct answer:

Anhedonia

Explanation:

Anhedonia is defined as the loss of the ability to experience pleasure. Since Joe is no longer enjoying his hobbies (which are, by definition, activities he likes and enjoys), and spending time with his friends (who are, by definition, people he likes), it is reasonable to assume that he is experiencing some degree of anhedonia.

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