AP Psychology : Defining Abnormalities and Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Bipolar Disorder

Which of the following psychological disorders is characterized by periods of depression alternating with periods of mania?

Possible Answers:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Schizophrenia 

Dissociative disorder

Depressive disorder

Bipolar disorder

Correct answer:

Bipolar disorder

Explanation:

Bipolar disorder involves periods of depression alternating with periods of mania, which can involve unusually elevated mood reckless behavior. Historically, bipolar disorder has been known as manic depression. Periods of mania do not occur in a depressive disorder.

Example Question #42 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which of the following is found in people diagnosed with Bipolar I but not Bipolar II disorder? 

Possible Answers:

Presence or history of at least one hypomanic episode

Presence or history of at least one major depressive episode

Presence or history of at least one manic episode

Presence or history of hallucinations

Correct answer:

Presence or history of at least one manic episode

Explanation:

Individuals with Bipolar I disorder must have at least one manic episode. Bipolar II is characterized by major depression and hypomania, a state of slightly less agitation than mania, but cannot have had a manic episode. 

Example Question #41 : Types Of Disorders

Which of the following is not symptomatic of mania?

Possible Answers:

Talking a lot

Being more creative

Hallucinating

Not sleeping

Being sexually promiscuous

Correct answer:

Hallucinating

Explanation:

"Hallucinating" is the correct answer. Hallucinating is not a common attribute of a manic state. It is more commonly paired with schizophrenia. During a manic state, bi-polar patients are elated, often talking a lot, not sleeping, engaging in promiscuous activities, and being more creative. 

Example Question #13 : Bipolar Disorder

Sarah alternates between periods of sadness—where she has little interest in life and low energy—and periods of excessive energy—where she has little need for sleep and engages in reckless behavior. Given what you know about her symptoms, what is Sarah's most likely diagnosis?

Possible Answers:

Borderline personality disorder

Bipolar disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder

Depression

Schizophrenia

Correct answer:

Bipolar disorder

Explanation:

Sarah's symptoms are consistent with “bipolar disorder,” which includes alternating between periods of depression and mania. By definition, a manic episode must last at least one week and not be induced by drugs or alcohol. Even though Sarah experiences periods of “depression,” bipolar disorder is the more appropriate diagnosis due to her manic episodes. “Borderline personality disorder” includes symptoms related to instability in relationships, emotions, and self-image. “Generalized anxiety disorder” is characterized by excessive anxiety regarding a number of things that induces impaired functioning. Last, “schizophrenia” is a psychotic disorder that involves at least two of the following symptoms: hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, disorganized behavior, and emotional flattening.

Example Question #1 : Depressive Disorders

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

Possible Answers:

Disturbances in appetite and sleep

Pessimism due to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

Preoccupation with maintaining a rigid, productive schedule

Lack of drive, initiative, and spontaneity

Ahnedonia (an inability to experience any pleasure at all)

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 #1 : 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

None of the other answers

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

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

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 #1 : 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 helplessness

Attribution-thinking

Negative thoughts

Denial

Learned hopelessness

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 #1 : Depressive Disorders

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

Possible Answers:

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

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

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 #1 : Depressive Disorders

Which of these is not a depressive disorder?

Possible Answers:

Postpartum depression

Dysthymia

Major depressive disorder

Seasonal affective disorder

Panic 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 #1 : Depressive Disorders

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

Possible Answers:

Schizophrenia

Somatoform disorder

Parkinson's disease

Bipolar disorder

Dysthymia

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. 

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