AP Psychology : Defining Abnormalities and Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #161 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which field employs a life course perspective in studying psychopathology?

Possible Answers:

Existential psychopathology

Developmental psychopathology

Psychoanalysis

Humanism

Adult psychopathology

Correct answer:

Developmental psychopathology

Explanation:

Developmental psychopathology is the study of the development of psychological disorders, including autism, ADHD, and schizophrenia. This subfield of psychopathology focuses on a life course perspective in examining the trajectory of psychological disorders.

Example Question #2 : Theories Of Psychopathology

Which of the following is NOT a contributing factor to psychopathology according to any branch of psychology?

Possible Answers:

Failure of self-realization

Fate

Cognitive biases

Biochemical imbalances

Unconscious conflict

Correct answer:

Fate

Explanation:

Each branch of psychology has many explanations for psychopathology, including failure of self-realization (humanistic), unconscious conflict (psychodynamic), cognitive biases (cognitive), and biochemical imbalances (psychobiological). Although some people may believe that fate plays a role in whether someone develops a disorder, fate is not a scientific phenomenon that any branch of psychology includes in the study of psychopathology.

Example Question #162 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which of the following characterizes the medical or biomedical theory of abnormal psychology?

Possible Answers:

Psychological disorders are caused by unhelpful thought patterns

Psychological disorders have biological causes, symptoms, and cures

Psychological disorders are the result of nonsecure parental attachments

Psychological disorders are due to unconscious conflict

Psychological disorders have to do with incorrect conditioning

Correct answer:

Psychological disorders have biological causes, symptoms, and cures

Explanation:

The medical or biomedical theory of abnormality views the causes of abnormal psychology to be biological as well as the symptoms and cures. Examples of this might include hormone imbalances or differences in brain structure. Unconscious conflict would be classified under the psychanalytic psychology, attachment theory under social or developmental psychology, conditioning under behavioral psychology, and thought patterns under cognitive psychology. 

Example Question #3 : Theories Of Abnormal Psychology

Which of the following is not a contributing factor to women having higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders than men?

Possible Answers:

Hormonal differences between the sexes

Women have lower levels of aggression

Women are sexually assaulted at higher rates than men

Societal power and control differences between the sexes

Women are more likely to seek help for their disorders than men

Correct answer:

Women have lower levels of aggression

Explanation:

There are higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders in women for a combination of reasons, including hormonal differences, higher rates of sexual assault, less societal power and control, and more willingness to get help (which increases the rates, though not the occurances). The average woman is less aggressive than the average man, but that does not relate to anxiety/mood disorders and in fact brings down the rates of other types of disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder.

Example Question #4 : Theories Of Psychopathology

Dissociative disorders are a category of psychological disorders in which a person's emotions, consciousness, perceptions, motor control, and identity are dissociated. Many people with dissociative disorders have experienced childhood physical or sexual abuse. Which of the following is considered to be the major paradigm for dissociative disorders?

Possible Answers:

Learning model: a psychological approach dependent on the idea that behaviors result from learning and observation. 

Diathesis-stress model: a model dependent on the idea that psychological disorders occur when a person is predisposed to the disorder and experiences significant stress.

Cognitive psychology: a psychological approach dependent on the idea that mental processes affect thinking, memory, behavior, and problem solving.

Humanistic model: a model dependent on the idea that people are good, creative, and have free will.

Psychoanalytic theory: a theory that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are the result of conscious and subconscious interactions in the mind. 

Correct answer:

Diathesis-stress model: a model dependent on the idea that psychological disorders occur when a person is predisposed to the disorder and experiences significant stress.

Explanation:

The major paradigm for dissociative disorders is the diathesis-stress model. This model depends on the idea that psychological disorders occur when a person is predisposed to the disorder and experiences significant stress. Research has indicted that many dissociative patients experienced childhood physical or sexual abuse, which were the cause of significant stress. According to this model, these patients also had a predisposition, or diathesis, to dissociate easily. This means they are easily hypnotized and prone to engage in fantasy. Dissociation was a method of avoidance for these patients. In other words, dissociating from reality allowed them to escape their stressful experiences, protect themselves from emotional trauma, and block out unpleasant memories. 

Example Question #163 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which definition encapsulates the essence of the biological perspective on generalized anxiety disorder?

Possible Answers:

Biological theorists believe that generalized anxiety disorder is caused chiefly by biological factors. One associated belief is that, due to low activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), excessive worrying and anxiety manifests in a person.

Biological theorists believe that generalized anxiety occurs when there are inadequacies in early relationships between children and their parents.

None of these answers accurately represents the biological perspective on generalized anxiety disorder

Biological theorists believe that generalized anxiety stems from the unhealthy thinking patterns in a person. When a person has maladaptive assumptions (inaccurate and inappropriate beliefs), they tend to worry excessively and inappropriately.

Biological theorists believe that generalized anxiety arises when people stop looking honestly and acceptingly at themselves. Repeated denials of their true thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviors make these people extremely anxious and unable to fulfill their potential as human beings.

Correct answer:

Biological theorists believe that generalized anxiety disorder is caused chiefly by biological factors. One associated belief is that, due to low activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), excessive worrying and anxiety manifests in a person.

Explanation:

Biological theorists believe that generalized anxiety disorder is caused chiefly by biological factors. One associated belief is that, due to low activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), excessive worrying and anxiety manifests in a person. Biological treatments for generalized anxiety disorder include antianxiety drug therapy, relaxation training, and biofeedback.

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 tester in case the study is unethical

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 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 #1 : 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 II

Axis III

Axis IV

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 #1 : Defining And Diagnosing Disorders

What does "comorbidity" mean?

Possible Answers:

Refusing to take psychotropic medication as part of treatment

Death from a psychiatric illness

Being able to control one's impulses

Having two or more psychiatric diagnoses

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

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 #2 : 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:

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

International Classification of Disease (ICD)

United States Pharmacopeia (USP)

Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS)

Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)

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. 

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