PSY 303 Entire Course

Week 1

Abnormal Theories. Select two of the following theories of abnormal behavior:

  1. Biological perspective
  2. Psychodynamic perspective
  3. Behavioral perspective
  4. Cognitive perspective
  5. Humanistic-existential perspective
  6. Community-cultural perspective
  7. Interactional approach

Compare and contrast the similarities and differences between each of these two theories of abnormal behavior. How has the evolution of each theory you chose shaped the field of abnormal psychology in the context of a historical perspective?


Psycho-Physiological Disorders. Until recently, psychologists believed that psychological symptoms interacted with only a few physical medical conditions. Now, psychologists recognize that in almost every medical condition there is a complex interaction between psychological factors (mind) and physical factors (body). Describe in your own words how psychological factors and physical factors affect each other in a specific medical condition of your choosing. In addition, please provide a brief definition of psychological stress and explain how the medical condition you chose can be affected by this kind of stress. Choose two specific treatment methods to illustrate how a person with this medical condition can decrease the negative effects of psychological stress.

To support your proposed treatment methods, use the Ashford University Library to locate at least one peer- reviewed article that was published within the last five years. Your article must be cited according to APA guidelines as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.


Week 2


Anxiety Disorders. Review the video, The Anxiety Spectrum, in Chapter 3.1 of your course text. Summarize Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) as described in the video. Provide an example of a GAD and a phobic disorder based on your reading and the video. Compare and contrast the GAD with the phobic disorder and address how avoidance behaviors are manifested differently in each condition.


Dependency Issues. In the DSM-IV-TR, substance-related disorders are divided into depressants (alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines), stimulants (amphetamine, cocaine, nicotine, and caffeine), opiates (heroin, codeine, and morphine), and hallucinogens (marijuana and LSD). Specific diagnoses are further categorized as substance dependence, substance abuse, substance intoxication, and substance withdrawal.

Provide a brief definition of addiction, in your own words. What are the similarities and differences in the levels of involvement in the following substance-related stages of addiction: use, intoxication, abuse, and dependence? Discuss why people continue to use substances, despite negative consequences.


Character Study. For this paper, select a character from a movie from the list below and write a case description of the character, including a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis. This paper should be two to three pages, not including title and reference pages, and include the following:

  1. Describe background information on the character, such as demographic information, family history, social history, medical history, academic and occupational history, etc.
  2. Describe the presenting problem, current symptoms, and current social functioning.
  3. Create a multi-axial DSM-IV diagnosis for the character.
  4. Analyze your differential diagnosis, including what other diagnoses you considered and why you 
ruled them out.
  5. Evaluate how accurately the movie’s depiction of the given form of abnormal psychology was based 
on what you’ve learned about the disorder.

Week 3


Dissociative Disorders. There are four dissociative disorders: Dissociative Amnesia, Dissociative Fugue, Depersonalization Disorder, and Dissociative Identity Disorder. These disturbances are characterized by profound alterations of consciousness and memory. A person’s sense of identity and his/her perception of reality are impaired.

Locate a professional website that discusses dissociative disorders to assist you in developing your reply to this discussion (such as,, or Compare and contrast two of the dissociative disorders. In your own words, how would you cope with a loss of memory or identity? What insights does the source you located provide?


Depression. The etiologies of depression are varied and include physiological, psychological, and environmental factors. Depression is a whole-body disorder that affects many levels of your being, including: the body, nervous system, thoughts, moods, feelings, and behavior.

Discuss the role of neurotransmitters, brainwave activity, and negative cognitions in the etiology and treatment of depression. Based on your own research, what is the best method to use to treat depression? Provide a justification for your selection of treatment options. Include at least one scholarly, peer-reviewed article that was published within the past five years to support your answer.


Suicide Risks. Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that is associated with depression often makes suicide seem like the only way to escape the pain.

For this assignment, search the internet and locate a suicide risk assessment (website, quiz, questionnaire, etc). Identify the risk factors for suicide based on the selected instrument, and discuss how the assessment is used to measure ones risk level. Explain how depression plays a role in suicide, and the impact that age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status has on suicide rates. Describe what you would say or do in response to someone who presents with the risk factors listed on the assessment instrument. How would you react to someone who was threatening suicide?

Your paper should be two to three pages (excluding title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA guidelines as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. You must utilize at least two peer-reviewed journal articles that were published within the last five years to support your analysis (in addition to the selected suicide risk assessment instrument that you identify). All sources must be cited according to APA format.


Week 4

Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a complex brain disorder. It can affect the ability to think clearly, manage feelings, make decisions, and relate to other people.

Discuss two of the causative factors of schizophrenia. Examine the success of one treatment approach for this disorder. Utilize at least one peer-reviewed article that was published within the last five years and cited according to APA guidelines to support your answer.


Sleep/Eating and Antisocial Disorders. For this discussion, select one of the following options:

Option A: People with antisocial personality disorder typically have no regard for right and wrong. They may often violate the law and the rights of others. They will lie, behave violently, and have abused drugs and alcohol. In your own words, describe the basic features of antisocial personality disorder. Explain why psychotherapy with this population is so likely to fail. Develop a short case (not covered in the course reading) of an individual with antisocial personality disorder to illustrate your point.

Option B: The prevalence of sleep and eating disorders has increased in recent years. Select one sleep or eating disorder to target for this discussion. In your own words, describe the precipitating factors, defining features, and treatment options. Develop a short case (not covered in the course reading) of an individual with your selected sleep or eating disorder to illustrate your point.


Week 5


Brian’s Case. It has been thought that children do not suffer from mental and emotional disorders. However, studies have indicated that children do suffer from illnesses such as learning, conduct, and substance abuse disorders. Conditions such as autism, depression, and suicide are common in our youth population.

Analyze the case study listed below. Discuss what factors should be considered when diagnosing this case as required by each axis of the DSM-IV-TR. What is your treatment recommendation for the case? What medication is typically used to treat this diagnosis? Brian’s parents would like to use natural remedies first before medication. Provide two recommendations to them that meet these criteria. Case Study: Brian Smith Brian, age nine, was brought to the clinic after his classroom teacher suggested that he may need medication to help him focus and stop disrupting class. She had tried all that she could, but nothing was successful. His parents were leery of trying medication and wanted to try natural remedies first before giving him any psychiatric drugs. Brian has been receiving occupational therapy, which has helped him focus during class. Brian admitted his mind would wander off when the teacher was writing on the blackboard; and therefore, he occupied his time with pretend play. Noises his classmates made disturbed his concentration; he would get upset at them and argue. His mother also reported that, though Brian was a very affectionate child, he had always found it difficult to socialize with his peer group and would resort to aggression out of frustration.

Sexual and Cognitive Disorders. For this discussion, you can write about a sexual disorder or a cognitive disorder. Select one of the following options:

Option A: Paraphilia is a condition involving sex fetishes where sexual arousal and gratification depend on fantasizing about, and engaging in, sexual behavior that is atypical and extreme. Describe the symptoms of three different forms of paraphilia. What do all paraphilias have in common? Based on research, why do researchers suggest one’s gender and/or culture may influence this disorder?

Option B: Dementia and amnesia are among the cognitive disorders discussed in this week’s reading. Select one disorder and describe the clinical features, causal factors, classification, and treatment options. Develop a short case (not covered in the course reading) of an individual with your selected cognitive disorder to illustrate your point.

Support your argument with at least one scholarly source outside of the text.

For your Final Paper, select one of the following disorders to investigate:

  1. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  2. Pathological Gambling
  3. Factitious Disorder by Proxy
  4. Substance Dependence
  5. Borderline Personality Disorder

Present a thorough overview of the chosen disorder. Your audience has no prior knowledge of this disorder; therefore, be sure your explanations are relevant to your audience. When writing your paper, it is critical that you convey all the necessary information in a straightforward manner using non-technical language. Support your analysis with at least five scholarly, peer-reviewed sources (not including the course text) that were published within the last five years. Your Final Paper must include the following:

  1. Define the disorder and its main symptoms.
  2. Describe the relationship between this disorder and other disorders.
  3. Describe who is most likely to have this disorder with regard to age, gender, social class and ethnicity.
  4. Summarize the risk factors (biological, psychological, and/or social) for this disorder. If one of the categories is

not relevant, address this within the summary.

  1. Evaluate recommended treatments for the disorder and the likelihood of success or possible outcomes for each
  1. List five references (include both print and web-based sources) that would provide more information for

individuals with this disorder. Give the reference for the source as well as a two to three sentence description for

each resource. This list of support resources will not count toward the required resources for your paper.

  1. Apply what you have learned throughout the course to your career (present and future). What information have

you found to be the most useful or relevant?