Textbook: Hooley, J.M., Butcher, J.N., Nock, M.K., Mineka, S. (2016). Abnormal Psychology, 17th Edition (17th Ed). Pearson Education, Inc. The textbook is available for purchase at the Columbia University bookstore or online. You must purchase the most recent edition of the book due to important updated content.Learning Objectives: The goals of this course are to provide each student with a broad overview of abnormal behavior and psychopathology. Students will understand the basic science of abnormal psychology including different approaches to studying abnormal human behavior and the basic tenets of clinical psychological research. Moreover, the student will become acquainted with historical perspectives of abnormal behavior as well as theoretical approaches to understanding the development of psychopathology. Finally, the student will have a foundation for understanding all the major DSM-5 diagnostic categories including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, dissociative and somatic disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, substance related disorders, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, and a brief review of empirically supported interventions. This class will prepare students for courses that discuss each of these topics in greater depth.
Student Learning Outcomes: At the completion of this course, students will be able to:
Understand and think critically about the basic science of abnormal psychology. Students will be capable of discerning appropriate approaches to studying abnormal human behavior and will have a grasp of the process involved in the completion of clinical psychological research. Students will be able to read and review recent studies in abnormal psychology.
Discuss the history of how abnormal behavior was conceptualized and approached, including how present day understanding of abnormal psychology and psychopathology evolved.
Demonstrate a basic understanding of the major diagnostic categories included with the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Comprehension will be assessed through class discussion, examination, case studies, and student writing. This foundation of knowledge will allow for study of abnormal psychology in higher-level courses.
Evaluate the validity of clinical psychological claims, particularly with respect to controversial psychological issues related to abnormal behavior. Students are provided with an opportunity to read articles providing competing psychological viewpoints as well as empirical findings on varied topics regarding psychopathology, both its development and presentation.
Readings: Readings and other assignments are due on the day they appear on the syllabus (please see last page of the syllabus). Readings are required and will prepare you appropriately for lectures and exams. Additional readings may be added to that which is specified on the syllabus throughout the semester at the Professor’s discretion. Articles listed on the syllabus are available online on the Courseworks page.
Exams: There will be a total of two exams, a midterm and a final examination. Exam dates and the material covered in each exam are listed on the last page of the syllabus. Each exam will be worth 30% of your final grade and consist of multiple-choice questions (a total of 100 questions on each exam). Successful completion of exams will require both class attendance and thorough reading of the assigned material. You are responsible for all lecture material and all the material in the assigned chapters and articles.
Make-up Exams: Make-up exams will not be given without an authorized excuse. If you are unable to take an exam at its scheduled time you must notify the Professor PRIOR to the exam date. If you do not take an exam, and you fail to schedule a make-up, you will receive a failing grade (a zero) for that exam.
Empirical Article Summary and Commentary: Students will choose a recent empirical study related to the field of abnormal psychology that has been published in a peer reviewed psychology journal and write a brief two-page summary of and commentary on the article. Only articles that have been published in a psychology journal and describe a research study are acceptable for use in this assignment. You may choose any area in abnormal psychology that is of interest to you. You will be evaluated based on your writing, the appropriateness of your article selection, the accuracy of your summary, and the thoughtfulness and insight you apply to your commentary. This assignment is worth 20% of your final grade.
Case Formulation: Students will be asked to develop a case formulation representing the presentation of a DSM-5 diagnosis discussed during the course. The case summary is fictional (i.e., it should not be based on any real individual), developed by the student, and should include a brief social history, a review of the fictional individual’s symptom presentation and functional impairment, as well as a diagnostic formulation that includes a discussion of differential diagnoses and any potential comorbid diagnoses. The specific disorder that is reviewed is the student’s choice. Your paper should be no longer than three pages. You will be evaluated based on your writing, how thoroughly you provide relevant clinical information, and in terms of the accuracy of your diagnostic conceptualization. The case formulation will be worth 20% of your final grade.
Case Study Diagnoses: Students will be provided a case study at two times during the summer session. The case study will provide a profile for an individual struggling with psychopathology. The student is responsible for reading the case study and developing a diagnosis or set of comorbid diagnoses. The student will submit the diagnosis/diagnoses along with a differential diagnosis that was “ruled out,” during conceptualization. You can earn up to 2 points, 1 for a correct diagnosis/diagnoses and 1 for an appropriate differential diagnosis. These points will be added as “extra points,” to either your midterm or your final exam. If you do not submit a correct diagnosis or rule out, no points will be added to your exam. Failure to complete the assignment will result in two points being deducted from your exam grade.
Grading: 1. Midterm 30% of your final grade
2. Final Exam 30% of your final grade
3. Empirical Article Summary 20% of your final grade