AP Psychology : Depressive Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Depressive Disorders

Which of the following is not a symptom of major depressive disorder?

Possible Answers:

Lack of drive, initiative, and spontaneity

Ahnedonia (an inability to experience any pleasure at all)

Preoccupation with maintaining a rigid, productive schedule

Pessimism due to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

Disturbances in appetite and sleep

Correct answer:

Preoccupation with maintaining a rigid, productive schedule

Explanation:

People with major depressive disorder typically give up their productivity and their motivation to complete daily tasks. Below is a comprehensive list of some of the most common symptoms of major depressive disorder.

When people are living with major depressive disorder, they experience emotional symptoms (feeling sad and dejected), motivational symptoms (loss of desire to pursue usual activities and duties), behavioral symptoms (feeling less active and less productive), cognitive symptoms (holding negative views of self, like feeling inadequate, undersireable, inferior, worthy of blame), and physical symptoms (experiencing headaches, indigestion, constipation, dizzy spells, and general pain).

Preoccupation with schedules and productivity is more indicative of an obsessive-compulsive disorder than a depressive disorder.

Example Question #2 : Depressive Disorders

Which of the following is not true about dysthymic disorder?

Possible Answers:

Dysthymic disorder is a less-disabling form of major depressive disorder

Dysthymic disorder is one of the possible patterns of unipolar depression

Dysthymic disorder is a shorter form of major depressive disorder; it typically lasts less than one month

Dysthymic disorder is a longer version of major depressive disorder; it is diagnosed when a person has been experiencing depressive-like symptoms for more than two years

None of the other answers

Correct answer:

Dysthymic disorder is a shorter form of major depressive disorder; it typically lasts less than one month

Explanation:

Dysthymic disorder is a mood disorder that is similar to, but longer-lasting and less disabling, than major depressive disorder. It is diagnosed after at least two years of on-going, mild symptoms of unipolar depression.

Example Question #3 : Depressive Disorders

What is the term for the perception that an individual has no control over the rewards and punishments that he/she earns in life? This is a contributing factor to feelings of depression.

Possible Answers:

Learned hopelessness

Negative thoughts

Attribution-thinking

Denial

Learned helplessness

Correct answer:

Learned helplessness

Explanation:

Learned helplessness is the perception that, based on past experiences, an individual has no control over reinforcements (rewards, punishments) in his/her life. These individuals also tend to believe that they themselves are entirely responsible for this helpless state.

Example Question #4 : Depressive Disorders

What is the main difference between dsythymia and major depressive disorder?

Possible Answers:

Dsythymia is an anxiety disorder, while major depressive disorder is a mood disorder

Dsythymia occurs in children, while major depressive disorder occurs in teenagers and adults

Dsythymia is a pervasive "low level" depression that lasts numerous years, while major depressive disorder is a single episode of severe depression

Dsythymia includes hallucinations, while major depressive disorder does not

Dsythymia includes bipolar symptoms, while major depressive disorder does not

Correct answer:

Dsythymia is a pervasive "low level" depression that lasts numerous years, while major depressive disorder is a single episode of severe depression

Explanation:

Dsythymia and major depressive disorder are both mood disorders, specifically focused on depressive symptomology. The main difference between them is that dsythymia is a low grade depression that lasts multiple years, while major depressive disorder is a single, severe depressive episode.

Example Question #5 : Depressive Disorders

Which of these is not a depressive disorder?

Possible Answers:

Postpartum depression

Dysthymia

Major depressive disorder

Panic disorder

Seasonal affective disorder

Correct answer:

Panic disorder

Explanation:

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder, not a depressive disorder. All other listed answer options are depressive disorders.

Example Question #6 : Depressive Disorders

What disorder is considered to be a milder, but more chronic, form of depression?

Possible Answers:

Parkinson's disease

Somatoform disorder

Dysthymia

Schizophrenia

Bipolar disorder

Correct answer:

Dysthymia

Explanation:

Dysthymia (also known as dysthymic disorder) is a mild, but long-term, form of depression. Symptoms usually last for at least two years, and cause significant interference in aspects of daily life and work. 

Example Question #7 : Depressive Disorders

If someone has had constant symptoms of depression for five years, what disorder would they most likely be diagnosed with?

Possible Answers:

Dysthymia

Major depressive disorder

Bipolar disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Minor depressive disorder

Correct answer:

Dysthymia

Explanation:

Major depressive disorder is the most common mood disorder and is characterized by a depressed mood and physical symptoms such as loss of appetite and fatigue for 2 or more weeks in the absence of a clear cause. SAD has the symptoms of major depressive disorder but the episodes occur seasonally, typically during winter. Dysthymia is similar to major depressive disorder but it is less severe and lasts longer (at least 2 years). Bipolar disorder involves episodes of both depression and mania. Minor depressive disorder is still being researched and you do not have to know it for the AP Psychology exam. 

Example Question #8 : Depressive Disorders

If someone has excessive loss of appetite and fatigue but only during the months of November through March, what might they be diagnosed with?

Possible Answers:

Bipolar disorder

Dysthymic disorder

Major depressive disorder

Minor depressive disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Correct answer:

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Explanation:

Major depressive disorder is the most common mood disorder and is characterized by a depressed mood and physical symptoms such as loss of appetite and fatigue for 2 or more weeks in the absence of a clear cause. SAD has the symptoms of major depressive disorder but the episodes occur seasonally, typically during winter. Dysthymia is similar to major depressive disorder but it is less severe and lasts longer (at least 2 years). Bipolar disorder involves episodes of both depression and mania. Minor depressive disorder is still being researched and you do not have to know it for the AP Psychology exam.

Example Question #9 : Depressive Disorders

If someone is depressed, what kind of attributions (according to Beck's cognitive triad) might he or she make about a recent job promotion?

Possible Answers:

External, specific, unstable

External, global, unstable

Internal, specific, unstable

External, specific, stable

Internal, global, unstable

Correct answer:

External, specific, unstable

Explanation:

Beck's cognitive triad examines the explanations people make about themselves, their future, and their world. When something happens, someone can decide that it was either caused by them or caused by an external factor (internal/external), generalize the event to all events or keep it specific to the event at hand (global / specific), and decide whether he or she thinks it will continue in the future or will end soon (stable/unstable). When something good happens, such as a job promotion, someone who is depressed might believe the job promotion to be caused by luck (external), only because they are good at their job but nothing else (specific), and probably won't last long (unstable).

Example Question #10 : Depressive Disorders

If someone is depressed, what kind of attributions (according to Beck's cognitive triad) might he or she make about a recent job loss?

Possible Answers:

External, specific, unstable

External, specific, stable

Internal, global, stable

External, global, unstable

Internal, specific, unstable

Correct answer:

Internal, global, stable

Explanation:

Beck's cognitive triad examines the explanations people make about themselves, their future, and their world. When something happens, someone can decide that it was either caused by them or caused by an external factor (internal/external), generalize the event to all events or keep it specific to the event at hand (global / specific), and decide whether he or she thinks it will continue in the future or will end soon (stable/unstable). If someone is depressed and they lose their job (or something else bad happens), they are likely to assume it's their fault (internal), it characterizes the fact that they can't do anything right (global), and their luck will not change (stable). 

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