AP Psychology : Defining Abnormalities and Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #171 : Defining Abnormalities And 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:

Neurosis

Idiocy

Insanity

Psychosis

Dementia

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 #5 : 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

All of these

The individual suffers due to a reocurring problem or disorder

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

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

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 #172 : Defining Abnormalities And 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:

All of these

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

None of these

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

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 #1 : 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

All of these

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

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

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

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 #173 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

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

Possible Answers:

Difficulty accepting criticism

Feelings of entitlement

Need of attention/admiration

Sensitivity to the needs of others

Delusions of grandeur

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 #3 : 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:

Shame

Withdrawal

Anhedonia

Mania

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.

Example Question #174 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which of the following is true about the DSM 5?

Possible Answers:

DSM stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

the DSM 5 is the only edition of the DSM to exist

homosexuality is listed as a sexual disorder

the cause of every disorder is explained

the DSM exists primarily for patients' use

Correct answer:

DSM stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Explanation:

The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) 5 is the latest, not only, edition of this guidebook for psychologists. The DSM helps psychologists diagnose their patients and does not offer explanations for the origins of disorders. Homosexuality used to be listed as a disorder in earlier editions of the DSM but is not included in the DSM 5. 

Example Question #175 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which of the following is NOT an axis of the DSM used for diagnosis?

Possible Answers:

Axis 5: global assesment of functioning (GAF)

Axis 4: psychosocial disorders

Axis 1: assessment of insanity

Axis 2: personality disorders

Axis 3: physical disorders

Correct answer:

Axis 1: assessment of insanity

Explanation:

There are 5 axes used in the DSM for diagnosis: 

Axis 1- clinical disorders (developmental, learning, etc.)

Axis 2-personality disorders

Axis 3- physical disorders

Axis 4- psychosocial disorders

Axis 5- global assessment of functioning

Even if you didn't know these exact axes, it is important to remember that "insanity" is not a clinical term ever used in the DSM or by therapists. 

Example Question #23 : Theories Of Abnormal Psychology

Although diagnosis is necessary for treatment, what is one possible negative consequence of labeling someone as having a particular disorder?

Possible Answers:

Stigma

The placebo effect

Social acceptance

Comorbidity

Diathesis-stress model

Correct answer:

Stigma

Explanation:

When someone is diagnosed as having a particular disorder, there is sometimes stigma (shame or disgrace) associated with this labeling, which is the opposite of the answer choice "social acceptance."

As for the other answer choices, comorbidity is the concurrence of multiple psychological disorders in one person. The placebo effect occurs when someone believes that they are being treated for something (when they are really not) and subsequently improves as a function of that belief. The diathesis-stress model explains the interaction of genetic and environmental factors in terms of disorders-- the diathesis is the predisposition to a disorder that is triggered by some sort of stress.

Example Question #176 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which of the following does not act as a risk factor for developing a psychological disorder?

Possible Answers:

Gender

Family mental health history

Race

Family size

Socioeconomic status

Correct answer:

Family size

Explanation:

Race, gender, SES, and family history all play roles in the development (or non-development) of a disorder. For example, women are more likely to develop most psychological disorders, especially mood and anxiety disorders, but men are more likely to develop substance abuse disorders. Race can also impact vulnerability for certain disorders and low SES is associated with higher rates of many disorders, such as anxiety disorders. Family history is perhaps the most significant risk factor because genetics play a large role in whether someone is likely to develop a specific disorder. 

If there is any connection between family size and psychopathology, it has not been researched or documented and is therefore has not been directly indicated as a strong risk factor. 

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