the scientific study of mental/psychological disorders or abnormal behaviour.

Psychological Disorders

Psychological disorders are:

  • Distinctive and consistent clusters of abnormal thoughts/behaviours
  • “ Apsychological dysfunction within an individual associated with distress or impairment in functioning and a response thatis not typical or culturally expected” (Barlow and Durand, 2012)

Aims of Psychopathology

  1. Describe psychological disorders
  2. Explain causes of psychological disorders (biological/psychological/environmental factors)
  3. Develop effective treatments for psychological disorders

E.g. schizophrenia:

  1. Describe symptoms:
    • Delusions, hallucinations, disorganised speech, etc
  2. Understand causes:
    • Biological: dopamine dysfunction
    • Psychological: confusion between self and other
    • Environmental: maternal infection, drugs
  3. Develop treatments
    • Psychotherapies
    • Drugs

Diagnostic Systems

The major Diagnostic System currently in use is the DSM, which defines the line between normal and abnormal as fulfilling an outlined criteria, based on the categories within it.