Psychology, in the simplest of terms, can be called the science of behaviour and mental processes. The study of this subject includes the study of various psychological theories and practices that have evolved through the 20th and 21st centuries. Various methodologies of research are introduced to the students and their understanding is tested in the form of psychology assignments. These assignments require the students to undertake extensive research and demonstrate an understanding of the various areas of psychology like learning and memory, social psychology, sensation and perception, emotion, development, and psychopathology.
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The crafting of a Psychology Assignment is based on the principles of the studies involving mental processes and behaviour. The scientific studies involved in Psychology have been continuously developed in terms of several psychological theories and associated practices since the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The modus of research in the field of Psychology is imparted in various educational universities to students via the giving of relevant assignments. The various fields of Psychology involve the aspects surrounding sensation and perception, social psychology, learning and memory, emotion, development and psychopathology.
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Psychology Assignment Sample Online
Psychological Abnormality – Case Study – Samantha (AC 2.1 & 3.1)
Samantha is a 36 year old woman with one child aged seven. She is happily married to Dan, a successful portfolio manager. They met when Samantha worked in finance. The family is well off, although Dan’s long working hours mean that he gets to see less of his family than they would like. Samantha does not work; she does not have to. She puts much energy into her daughter and is a loving, devoted and strong mother. As a young girl she worked hard to become a professional ballet dancer, but did not make it. Sam was told she did not have the look and had grown too tall. Although most people considered her beautiful and extremely attractive, with the look of a professional model – Samantha hates her image. She views herself as being tall and too curvy.
Friends, family and colleagues will swear of Dan’s devotion to his wife and daughter. In his spare time Dan will organize fun days for the family aside from the annual holiday, and when possible, frequently takes Samantha on breaks away. Lately, Samantha has been feeling neglected by Dan, assuming that he has other reasons for always working late. Samantha often thinks the worst of any given situation, being caught up in a spiral of negative thinking – being half empty, rather than half full as they say. She had an unhappy childhood; her mother was an addict and suffered with depression, committing suicide when Samantha was eight years old. Samantha was raised by her aunt, who was very cold and austere. Her family originally came from the Caribbean, whilst Dan’s are from England.
Recently, Samantha has been feeling depressed and has begun drinking heavily to numb the pain she feels inside. She indulges in shopping sprees to make her feel good and lift her spirit. However, Sam is hiding this habit and getting into debt. At times she finds it hard to sleep. When Sam does sleep, she dreams about her mother and believes her mother is trying to tell her something, trying to reach out to her. In addition, Samantha has been experiencing mood swings of extreme highs and lows, displaying erratic behaviour that is incomprehensible to others and make some people feel uncomfortable. Her aunt says she is behaving just like her mother did. She needs to get a grip of herself and “fix up”. Samantha is fraught with anguish and worries that history might be repeating itself.
Last night, Dan found evidence of Samantha’s spending when he looked over the household accounts. He was more upset that she had kept the state of her finances away from him, than the actual spending itself. Samantha opened up to Dan about the way she has been feeling; she knows she needs help but fears she would be wrongly assessed due to her ethnicity. They talked for hours, well into the night. This morning Dan made an appointment to see Dr Harrison, a psychologist with a private practice based in Harley Street. Samantha’s first session is next Tuesday and Dan is taking the day off to attend with her.
Psychology Assignment Sample Online Answers
Psychology is the study of human behaviour, thoughts and feelings. Abnormal psychology can be defined as abnormal thoughts, feelings and behaviour that might or might not present a mental illness. Although number of behaviours can be classified as abnormal, this branch of psychology suggests studying of abnormality in clinical context. Although, there has been a long tradition of research and debate to understand psychology yet due to cultural variations and approach it is yet to be defined in a most accepted manner. There might be different conditions or multiple causes that leads to abnormal psychology. However, the debate is still on to describe what is abnormal. There has been a long history of fight between the biological school of thought and philosophical school of thought regarding abnormal psychology that give rise to dualism in mind and body issues. There have been different approaches to classify this disorder and in abnormal category there can be subnormal, supernormal or paranormal. Abnormal psychology as described previously deals with abnormal behaviour based on this there can be two types of behaviours. While one is maladaptive another is adaptive. Behaviours are maladaptive when it is evident that the individual has some problem with the behaviour and he/she is stress as well as lacks the strength to cope with the environment. Abnormal psychology mostly studied under clinical psychology that tries to understand this abnormality and treat psychological conditions. Although abnormal psychology can be studied under clinical psychology, but contemporary practice models avoids such usage of words like abnormality. The psychopathology is another term that is similar to abnormal psychology but it is related to psychiatry where the pathology or the disease process is studied from a biological perspective. Thus one definition of abnormal psychology is abnormality in behaviour that is not socially acceptable at different layers of environment surrounding an individual. Second definition is statistical infrequency that say’s normal deviance from psychology in day to day life can be considered as normal as their frequency of occurring is within expected range for any group of population. But if a person has extremely high intelligence quotient or extremely low IQ, due to their statistical infrequency or rarity they are considered to be abnormal. The third definition of abnormality is any type of functionality impairment (not physical) due to the mental health issues or psychological disorders that affect the day to day life. The fourth definition is dangerous behaviour or abnormality in behaviour or attitude that is dangerous to self and others (Butcher, Mineka and Hooly, 2017). But the issue with defining abnormality is till today there is no consensus on what is the control beyond which it will be considered as an abnormality. Similarly, the cultural background also influences the behaviour. What is considered as normal in one culture might be considered as abnormal in another culture. Therefore, it is difficult to understand and define abnormality.
There are different approaches by which the psychological changes of a human being can be studied. As defined by the world health organization, health is defined as healthy status of an individual based on physical, social and mental it implicates the psychological abnormality can have minimum of three perspectives to be studied. Physical perspective is known as medical model or biological model of health. From the lens of biological model of health abnormal brain functions leads to abnormality in release of neurotransmitters and hormones that compel the clients to behave abnormally. Neurotransmitters help in communication in between the neurons through synapses. Research has shown serotonin low level can cause anxiety and depression as well as obsessive compressive disorder. Similarly, addiction can lead to imbalance in dopamine production that can also cause abnormal behaviour. These two hormones can play a crucial role in brain function and abnormal psychology as shown by Samantha. Therefore, a brain analysis as well as biochemical tests to know the concentration of these hormones can lead to identification of such depressions. Secondly, hormonal disturbances such as high/low estrogen and progesterone can cause depression and anxiety too. Similarly, high cortisol level can lead to stress situations in individuals. Therefore, the medications that Samantha might be taking need to be checked as any type of steroids can lead to increase in cortisol level thus increasing the stress. Apart from these many factors there could be genetic issues, infections and environmental toxicity. Therefore these many factors need to be evaluated to find out the biological cause of stress and depression (Nolen and Rector, 2015).
The second perspective that can be employed to study the Samantha abnormal psychology is behavioural model. As per this model environment has a crucial role to play in defining our behaviour. If Samantha’s case would be taken into consideration it can be seen she was not negative from starting rather they used to have a happy family. But Dan’s absence had made her lonely and the troubled childhood, problematic relationship with aunt ( i.e. cold relationship), dying of her mother at young age are certain past events that makes her depressed. As per operant conditioning taking alcohol has acted as a positive reinforcement for her. Therefore, with passage of time it has led to excessive drinking. Similar situation is seen with her spending. Therefore, the behavioural model explains her past life and current life of loneliness might have resulted her negative attitudes towards her life. Another major factor is early year rejection as a ballet dancer and low self esteem as far as her physical appearance is considered (Sue et al., 2015).
Culture, gender and socio-economic status and its influence on diagnosis of psychological disorders can be studied from two perspectives. Firstly they are social determinants of health that can affect the health of an individual. Mental health is also considered as a crucial aspect of healthy status. Since these three factors are related to mental health of an individual, it can influence both positively and negatively on psychological disorder diagnosis. Gender discrimination and stigma associated with mental heath in female population or male population vary in different cultures. In male dominated society, any mental health issue in a male candidate raises different questions on his ability to work and earn. Similar questions are raised on his family upbringing abilities. Same situation also occurs with females too. The gender discrimination can also lead to depression and anxiety. In western culture, there is the concept of nuclear family, however in Asian cultures the concept of extended family or joint family is more prevalent. The Asian culture of family dependent differs from western culture that promotes more independent life-style. Similarly, the socio-economic status also affects the psychological disorder status among the individuals, such as people living in war torn area are more depressed and in stress as compared to people living in peaceful area. The resilient potency is more in war torn area as compared to other place as established through research. Therefore, these factors affect the psychological status of an individual either positively or negatively. Resilient behaviour and degree of resiliency can make an individual abnormal based on statistical infrequency definition. For example – a normal human being has a level of tolerating the grief or sorrow, but in case of people who are resilient they are more tolerant in this situation. If an individual is extreme resilient due to the socio-economic status, or cultural upbringing and gender then he might be considered as an abnormal human being. In reality, it is the culture, gender and socio-economic status that have played a role in psychological diagnosis. This can be related to Samantha’s status too, since her socio-economic status was good she had little or less work to do at home. Being female gender might have restricted her to work in home as home maker and in her early years she had faced discrimination due to her appearance. Such factors affect the mental status of individual in long run as per psychological theories and empirical studies. Therefore, they can make her more prone to be diagnosed under psychological disorders category (Gregory and Sadeh, 2016).
Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S., & Hooley, J. M. (2017). Abnormal psychology. Pearson Education India.
Gregory, A. M., & Sadeh, A. (2016). Annual research review: sleep problems in childhood psychiatric disorders–a review of the latest science. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, 57(3), 296-317.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Rector, N. A. (2015). Abnormal psychology. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Sue, D., Sue, D. W., Sue, S., & Sue, D. M. (2015). Understanding abnormal behavior. Cengage Learning.