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PSYC 2621

This is an archive of the Common Course Outlines prior to fall 2011. The current Common Course Outlines can be found at
Credit Hours3
Course TitleAbnormal Psychology
Prerequisite(s)PSYC 1101 or PSYC 1101H
Corequisite(s)None Specified
Catalog Description
This course is a survey of  major theoretical perspectives on abnormal behavior, the DSM system, and major psychological disorders.  A variety of major psychological disorders are covered, including, but not limited to anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenic disorders, personality disorders, and substance-related disorders.
Expected Educational Results
As a result of completing this course the student will be able to:

1. Compare and contrast definitions of abnormal behavior.
2. Describe various factors that increase or decrease the risk of developing psychological disorders.
3. Explain the relationship between stress and psychological disorders.
4. Explain and apply the major theoretical approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal behavior (i.e. psychodynamic, humanistic, biological and cognitive-behavioral).
5. Explain and apply the current multi-axial diagnostic and classification system.
6. Discuss the arguments for and against the use of diagnostic labels.
7. Describe and explain the major methods used in assessing psychological disorders, including interviews, objective assessment methods and projective assessment methods.
8. Describe the signs, symptoms, incidence, prevalence, risk factors, causes, treatment and prognosis of: anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, sexual disorders, substance-related disorders, and schizophrenias.
9. Compare and contrast the effectiveness of various forms of therapy for the treatment for the treatment of anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, sexual disorders, substance-related disorders, and schizophrenias.
10. Identify and discuss causes, consequences, incidence, and prevalence of suicide and para-suicide.
11. Identify appropriate medications and discuss the use of psychopharmacological methods of treatment for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenias.
12. Discuss the implications of multicultural issues with respect to abnormal behavior.
13. Identify and discuss legal and social issues related to the treatment and prevention of abnormal behavior.
General Education Outcomes
I. This course addresses the general education outcome relating to communications as follows:
A. Students develop their reading comprehension skills by reading the textbook, handouts, and assigned journal articles.
B. Students develop their listening skills by listening to lectures, videotapes, and other students (during group discussions and problem-solving exercises).
C. Students develop their writing skills through written homework assignments, papers, and/or writing essays as part of exams.
D. Students develop their speaking skills by asking questions, through class discussions, and/or through oral reports to the class.
II. This course addresses the general educational outcome of demonstration of effective problem-solving and critical thinking skills by requiring students to apply knowledge gained from the course to analyzing and solving the types of problems that are often encountered in real life.
III. This course addresses the general educational outcome of identification and application of basic concepts of wellness by requiring students to define abnormal behavior (lack of psychological wellness), to describe the relationship between stress and abnormal behavior, and to define the risk factors associated with it abnormal behavior.
IV. This course addresses the general educational outcome of application of knowledge of personal, societal, and cultural development to living and working in a culturally diverse environment by requiring students to discuss the implications of multicultural issues with respect to abnormal behavior.
Course Content
1. Definitions of abnormal behavior
2. Risk factors for abnormal behavior and perspectives on its causes
3. Diagnosis and classification using the DSM System
4. Cross-cultural perspectives on abnormal behavior
5. Anxiety disorders
6. Mood disorders and suicide
7. Personality disorders
8. Substance-related disorders
9. Schizophrenic disorders
10. Treatment of psychological disorders
11. Legal and social issues
Assessment of Outcome Objectives
Grades from some combination of the following will be used to determine each student’s final course grade:  class participation, homework assignments, papers, projects, oral presentations, and exams.  Exams may be multiple choice, some combination of multiple choice and short answer or essay, or purely essay and/or short answer.  All instructors must give a MINIMUM of two exams for the course, including the final exam.  Individual instructors may determine the relative weightings of each component in determining the grade for the course, and must state the weightings to be used in determining student grades in the course syllabus.

A. This course will be assessed in the spring semester on a three-year assessment cycle.  Objective questions assessing student mastery of outcomes for this course will be included in either the final exam or unit tests for this course.  Each instructor must include these questions in the appropriate exam.  Each instructor is responsible for reviewing and tabulating the results of these outcome assessment questions and transmitting them to the course or curriculum committee responsible for this course.  Individual instructors should use feedback from assessment in their classes to review and evaluate their own teaching practices.
B. The construction of the outcome assessment questions will be the responsibility of the college-wide Psychology Curriculum Committee.

The Psychology Curriculum Committee will meet in either the summer or fall term after the spring assessment to review the course and to evaluate the results.  The review of the course outcome assessment findings will provide information on success in achieving the desired outcomes for this course on a college-wide basis.  If fewer than 70% of the students perform successfully on questions measuring any particular educational outcome, the committee will examine teaching practices related to that outcome, the assessment instrument, and the desired learning outcomes to determine which, if any, of these need modifying.  The committee will share its findings and recommendations with all faculty teaching this course, and may make changes to the desired educational outcomes, teaching practices, or assessment instrument as appropriate.

Updated: April 17, 2002
Minor Revisions:  June 27, 2005
Last Revised: Aug. 11, 2011
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