Abnormal Psychology- unit 1

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what is “abnormal”?
-the term “abnormal” is often unclear since there are no predominating definitions… however, the issue is extremely important considering theoretical, scientifical, and societal(legally, socially) aspects
the four major definitions of abnormality
-deviamce, distress, disability, dysfunction
-abnormality defined as statistically difference or unusual
-generally, referring to interinddividual difference: difference from what is typical for people in general
-can refer to intraindividual difference: difference from what is typical for that individual
-bell curve…
cons with defining abnormality as deviance
-differing from what is normal can be desirable, if normal behavior is undesirable: social norms, which chane with time and culture
-defining what is “different enough” to be “abnormal” is arbitrary
defining “normal” comparison can be difficult: gender differences and depression
pros with defining abnormality as deviance
-helps to quantify extent of problems when they exist
-may prevent discrimination: sexual behavior
-“abnormal” means “distressed” since it is defined in terms of pain experiences by individual
-distress is assumed to be undesirable, and thus something to be treated
cons with defining abnormality as distress
psychopathology is not always associated with distress: delusions of grandeur, narcissism
-distress is sometimes normal, healthy response: bereavement
-lack of distress is sometimes actually an indicator of psychopathology: serial homicide,
lack of empathy
-ego dystopia versus ego syntonic psychopathology
pros with defining abnormality as distress
-distress usually associated with psychopathology
-in scientific studies, distress is often the strongest predictor and correlate of mental disorder
-framing abnormality in terms of individual’s own experience avoids problems with comparing behavior
-abnormal means “disabled” or “impaired”
-abnormality defined in terms of ability to perform various roles
-definition is focused on impact of psychopathology on other aspects of life
-behavior is considered abnormal when it impairs ones ability to achieve or perform tasks
con with abnormality as disability
-whether or not psychopathology is associated with impairment is sometimes unclear: narcissm and wor versus social impairment
-defining abnormality as impairment may simply change question of defining abnormality into one of defining impairment: what are areas of impairment? how impaired is impaired? is impairment due to individual or others?
pros with abnormality as disability
-addresses some problems with distress definition: bereavement
-defines psychopathology in terms of consequences, clarifying importance of abnormal behavior
-abnormal means not operating as supposed to
-abnormality defined in terms of failure of psychological systems to operate coherently: neurotransmission
-definition is focused on underlying causes of behavior rather than behavior itself or the effects of behavior
-Wakefield defined abnormality as dysfunction of evolved psychological systems
cons with abnormality as dysfunction
-causes of behavior are usually unknown, so it is difficult to know when psychological systems are not functioning
-dysfunction itself does not necessarily imply lack of psychological health
-impairment is therefore often invoked together with dysfunction(“harmful dysfunction”)
is dysfunction definition any different from the impairment definition?
-dysfunction of inner systems does not always mean impairment
pros with abnormality as dysfunction
-ideally, dysfunction definition clarifies abnormality by focusing on its causes
-integrates knowledge of a psychological system and its different forms into definition of abnormality
how do we understand the overall definition of abnormality
-any single definition has advantages as well as disadvantages
-definitions are not mutually exclusive: statistically abnormal distress
-definitions are often complementary, multiple definitions are often used together to define abnormality
four features of abnormality defined by the American Psychiatric Association
-a clinically SIGNIFICANT…psychological pattern… that is associated with PRESENT DISTRESS…or DISABILITY… or with a significantly increased risk… Whatever its original cause, it must currently be considered a manifestation of… DYSFUNCTION in the individual
how can studying psychopathology be interpreted?
for example, specific environmental variables(e.g., abuse, drug exposure) in childhood predicts adult psychopathology
Rind, Tromvitch, & Baurserman (1998)
-conduced a meta-analysis showing no effect of childhood sexual abuse on adult psychopathology controling for background family environment
-huge controversy: 1) many articles and rebuttals 2) state, US congressional resolutions
gene vs. environment
-can’t study one without the other
-genetic research methods often best way of investigation impact of environment, and vice versa: 1) control for genetic or environmental effects 2) model relationships between genes and environment
genetic modeling: the two major types of behavior genetic research
-1) population genetics 2) molecular genetics
-boundary between the two can be fuzzy
population genetics
-focused on effects of genes in general
molecular genetics
-focused on effects of specific genes
population behavior genetics: some questions we try to answer
-how does behavioral similarity between two people change as a function of genetic similarity?
-are individuals who are more genetically related more similar in their behavior?
-how does behavioral similarity between two people change as a function of environmental similarity?
population behavior genetics: examples of people we compare the behavior of to their genetic relatedness
-identical twins(100% similar genetically)
-fraternal twins(50%)
-parents and children(50%)
-adopted children and their families(0%)
population behavior genetics: three things commonly modeled between people
1) genes
2) shared environment: any environment two people share (e.g., family, neighborhood)
3) nonshared environment: any environment two people don’t share (e.g., accidents, spouses)
-percent of differences between individuals that can be attributed to genetic differences between them
-varies from 0 to 1
-refers to differences within a group, NOT TO SPECIFIC INDIVIDUALS OR GROUPS
-can be thought of as related to how much of something is due to genes ON AVERAGE for a specific group
.47 heritability means…
-47% of the difference between people can be explained by genetic differences
heritability: two terms that help us understand
-nonshared environmentality & shared environmentality
-these two terms, not used as much, however
molecular behavior genetics: two major approaches
-linkage & association
-seem similar, but different statistically
molecular behavior genetics: linkage analysis
-correlation between people as function of similarity in genes
molecular behavior genetics: association analysis
differences between people who differ in specific genes
-how do people who have different versions of a gene differ?
-e.g., mean memory schores lower for individuals having certain version of APOE gene(Small, et al., 2004)
goal of linkage analysis
-calculate specific heritability, which is similar to heritability
-specific heritability refers to specific genetic region, rather than genes in general: e.g., 47% of the differences between people in depression can be explained by genetic differences on chromosome 6
goal of association analysis
-figure out what version of a gene (POLYMORPHISM) each person has
-compare e.g., means of people having one version to means of people having other version
what does association analysis require?
-knowing which specific genes an individual has
what does linkage analysis require?
-knowing how many genes that two people share, not exactly which genes they are
two major behavioral genetic paradigms
-polygenic & oligogenic
behavioral genetic paradigms: polygenic
-many genes of smaller effect
-more common than oligogenic: doesn’t seem to be working, not sure why
behavioral genetic paradigms: oligogenic
-few genes of larger effect
-in some cases: focus on rare genes of large effect
major types of genetic and environmental effects
-direct effects of genes
-direct effects of environment
-gene-environment interaction
-gene-environment correlation
-epigenetic effects
gene-environment interaction
-effects of genes depend on environment, or vice-versa
-can be with regard to genes in general, or specific genes
gene-environment interaction examples
-IQ in families from impoverished families: shared environmentality about .60 & heritability 0
-in wealthy families, almost exactly opposite(Turkheimer, et al., 2003)
-effect of environment on depression may depend on serotonin transporter gene (Caspi, et al., 2003)
gene-environment correlation
-genes can affect environment indirectly
-peoples’ genes influence their behavior, which influences their environment
two types of gene-environment correlation
-active & passive
active gene-environment correlation
-involves direct influence of behavior on environments (e.g., choice of weekend activity, reactions of others toward your behavior)
-child genes>misconduct>negative parent relationship (transitive property)
passive gene-environment correlation
-involves environment created by those who are genetically related to you (e.g., parents share your genes your genes and shape your childhood environment)
passive & active gene-environment correlations for: genetic influences on substance are correlated with conflictual family environment
-active gene-environment correlation: genes cause substance abuse
-passive gene-environment correlation: genes cause both substance abuse in children and family conflict among parents
epigenetic effects
-effects due to how genes are expressed, rather than the genes themselves: e.g., whether gene is turned on or off(“gene switches”)
major question regarding epigenetic effects
-are epigenetic effects really genetic or environmental?
-are there environmental effects that can be inherited biologically?
examples of epigenetic effects
-effect of allele depends on parental guidance: allele increases psychopathology with low structure provided by parent or decreases psychopathology with lots of structure provided by parent
-polymorphism is associated with assertiveness, assertiveness leads to larger peer groups
sociocultural influences
-how do social systems and culture affect psychopathology?
-often directly or indirectly answers question of how psychopathology differs or is similar across cultures
examples of sociocultural influences
-schizophrenia more common in urban areas
-individuals from East-Asian cultures more likely to express depression in terms of physical symptoms
emic-etic distinction
-emic approach emphasizes understanding phenomena unqiue to a culture or from within that culture
-etic approach emphasizes understanding phenomena across cultures or from outside that culture
emic approaches
-“bottom-up” approach
-often focused on “translating” that culture “out” to other cultures
example of emic approach
-Hwa-byung (“anger illness”; Korean)- feelings of insomnia, fatigue, panic, distress, and physical symptoms associated with suppressed anger
-not necessarily limited to Korea- just derived from within that culture
etic approaches
-“top-down” approach
-often focused on “translating” other cultures “into” a culture
example of etic approach
-does the Rosenberg self-esteem scale work the same in Japan as in the U.S.?
-translate original questions from English into Japanese, study people’s responses
-assumes that “self-esteem” is a construct that is calid in U.S. and Japan
Categories: Abnormal Psychology