the psychology of dysfunctional behavior




general/ educational sites


the national institute of mental health


national institute for mental health



theories of abnormal behavior

  abnormal psychology, a lecture

freud and horney on dysfunction


concepts/ models of dysfunctional behavior 

 models of abnormal psychology


empirical studies


diagnosis and classification

 dysfunctional definitions 

classification/ dsm, ppt

mental health assessment

clinical assessment procedures 

dsm classifications 

a guide to the DSM 

strengths and criticisms, dsm

interpersonal issues in diagnosis 

issues in diagnosis and classification

shades of abnormality  

personality disorders 

approaches to treatment 

perspectives in treatment of atypical behavior 

therapy: an in-depth look at treatment perspectives

drugs or therapy?

group therapy

is blogging good therapy?

psychotherapy, bosnian refugees

self-help: cure or sham?

virtual treatment, ptsd

therapies for depression

lost lives- mental health crisis in asia 

denied citizens, world health organization 


research methods

research methods in dysfunctional behavior


culture, gender issues 

  women, depression rate

depression in china

dysfunctional behaviorss


affective/ mood disorder, overview 

origins of depression 

the neurobiology of depression 

learned hopelessness, depression

 depression central 

 depression and creativity 

unipolar depression

suicidal behavior 

seasonal affective disorder 

depression in women 

good news, depression

therapies for depression



intro to schizophrenia 

culture and schizophrenia 

dopamine hypothesis  

 treatment of schizophrenia


anxiety disorders

anxiety vocab sheet 


social anxiety disorder


stress disorder

car accidents, ptsd

children, war on tv

intrusive memories, ptsd

journalists, ptsd

ptsd, eye movement

internal tasks

disorder presentation

test/ exam prep

terms to know I  

terms to know II

paper II question bank

the psychology of dysfunction.ppt 

etiology/treatment cheatsheet.ppt 

   abnormal psyc, on-line self assessment

     madness and art


This area of psychology is concerned with the understanding and treatment of dysfunctional behaviors. It investigates the issues of identifying individuals with dysfunctional behaviors and the strategies related to changing such behavior. Anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and affective disorders are three examples of dysfunctional behaviors that have recieved attention from psychologists and psychiatrists.

An important point is the examination of concepts such as 'normality', 'abnormality' and 'mental illness'. Psychologists working in this area have developed a range of explanations for the development of dysfunctional behaviors by focusing on, for example, biological, cognitive, and environmental factors. Since the definition of 'abnormality' has important implications for the treatments offered, these are examined from the biological, cognitive, and learning perspectives, in addition to the humanistic and psychodynamic perspectives.

One should be aware of the increased controversial nature of the psychology of dysfunctional behavior, along with an appreciation of its ethical considerations.


Students should expect questions that ask them to:

1.  Describe and evaluate relevant theories and empirical studies related to the psychology of dysfunctional behaviour

2. Explain, where appropriate how cultural, ethical, gender and methodological considerations may affect the interpretation of dysfunctional behaviour

3.  Describe and evaluate approaches to treatments for dysfunctional behaviour

4. Discuss the diagnosis and classification of dysfunctional behaviour

5. Analyse the etiology and treatment of dysfunctional behaviours

 6. Describe and evaluate different concepts and models of dysfunctional behaviour

pscy of dysfunctional behaviour, content suggestions


EXAM SHORT ANSWER and ESSAY QUESTIONS                                                                                              

1. Assess how the basic assumptions of two models of dysfunctional behaviour have influenced the effectiveness of each model’s explanation of dysfunctional behaviour.  
[20 marks] 

2. (a) Within the study of dysfunctional behaviour, psychologists attempt to construct possible aetiologies for dysfunctional behaviour. Define the term aetiology. 
[2 marks] 
(b) For one dysfunctional behaviour, describe two possible aetiologies that have been developed by psychologists.  
[8 mark] 
(c) Evaluate each of the aetiologies described in part (b).  
[10 marks] 

 3. a) Describe one dysfunctional behaviour (disorder).  
[6 marks] 
b) Evaluate the use of one therapy or treatment for the dysfunctional behaviour (disorder) described in part a). 
[14 marks] 

4. To what extent are concepts of “normality” and “abnormality” affected by cultural considerations?  
[20 marks]

5. a) Explain how dysfunctional behaviour is diagnosed and classified.  [10 marks] 
b) Discuss ethical considerations related to the diagnosis of 
dysfunctional behaviour.  [10 marks] 

6. a) Describe two therapies or treatments for dysfunctional behaviour. [12 marks]  
b) Evaluate these therapies or treatments.  [8 marks]  

7. Explain how methodological considerations affect the interpretation of dysfunctional 
behaviour.  [20 marks]  
8. a) Describe one classificatory system of dysfunctional behaviour.  [12 marks]  
b) Evaluate the effectiveness of this classificatory system.  
[8 marks]  
9. Compare the basic assumptions of two models or theories of dysfunctional behaviour. [20 marks]

10. Discuss methodological and ethical implications of using classificatory systems in the diagnosis of dysfunctional behaviours. [20 marks] 

11. (a) Describe one possible etiology for a dysfunctional behaviour of your choice. [6 marks] 
(b) To what extent does the etiology of the dysfunctional behaviour you have described in (a) affect the treatment of that dysfunctional behaviour? [14 marks] 

12.  Discuss gender considerations related to the psychology of dysfunctional behaviour. [20 marks]

13. (a)  Outline one dysfunctional behaviour.  [8 marks]
(b) Compare two models or theories explaining the dysfunctional behaviour described in part (a). [12 marks]

14. (a) Describe one empirical study related to dysfunctional behaviour. [8 marks] 
(b) Discuss methodological considerations that may affect the interpretation of findings from the empirical study described in part (a). [12 marks]
15. Examine ways in which one model or theory of dysfunctional behaviour contributes to an understanding of dysfunctional behaviour. [20 marks]

16. (a) Identify and outline one classification system of dysfunctional behaviour.  [6 marks] 

(b) Discuss strengths and limitations of one classification system. [14 marks]
17.  Examine ways in which disordered patterns of eating may arise. [20 marks] 

18. With reference to empirical studies, discuss diagnosis of dysfunctional behaviour. [20 marks] 

19.  “A basic assumption can be defined as a belief or idea that psychologists studying dysfunctional behaviour from a certain perspective hold in common.” 
(a) Identify one specific dysfunctional behaviour and outline how one theory or model explains this dysfunctional behaviour. [4 marks] 
(b) Describe two basic assumptions of the theory or model of dysfunctional behaviour outlined in part (a). [6 marks] 
(c) Explain how the basic assumptions described in part (b) are reflected in the treatment of the dysfunctional behaviour identified in part (a). [10 marks]

20. Compare and contrast two classificatory systems used in the psychology of dysfunctional behaviour. [20 marks]

21.  Compare and contrast two approaches to the treatment of one specific type of dysfunctional behaviour. 
[20 marks] 

22. (a) Describe one empirical study related to the psychology of dysfunctional behaviour. [8 marks] 
(b) Explain how cultural considerations may affect the findings of studies related to the psychology of dysfunctional behaviour. [12 marks] 

23. Examine controversies related to concepts of normality and abnormality. [20 marks] 

24. Describe and evaluate one model or theory of dysfunctional behaviour. [20 marks] 

25.  Discuss how methodological considerations may affect the interpretation of findings of two empirical studies related to the psychology of dysfunctional behaviour. [20 marks]