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An Integrative Approach to Psychopathology

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Presentation on theme: "An Integrative Approach to Psychopathology"— Presentation transcript:

1 An Integrative Approach to Psychopathology
Chapter 2 Abnormal Psychology

2 Multidimensional Integrative Approach
Psychopathology: Biological roots Psychological roots Socio-cultural roots As opposed to one dimensional perspectives

3 Influences Behavioral: emotions become associated with situations
Biological: inherited traits/genetic contributions Emotional: influences how we think about and respond to situations Social: familial/peer influences, cultural context Developmental: “critical periods”- we may be particularly susceptible due to developmental timing

4 Genetic Contributions to Psychopathology
Traits are influenced by our genetic endowment Polygenetic inheritance: psychological characteristics are influenced by many genes, which interact with the environment; each gene has a very small effect

5 Genetic Contributions to Psychopathology
Environmental contexts and experiences determine whether or not genes are expressed or “turned on”

6 Study of Genes and Behavior
Twin studies: Comparing heritability estimates between identical and fraternal twins Schizophrenia: if one identical twin has the disorder, the other twin has approximately a 50% chance of developing it (similar or lower in other disorders)

7 Brain Plasticity Research: the structure and functioning of the brain is continually shaped by experience Early childhood: deprivation Adulthood: exposure to stress/trauma; effects of therapy/learning, etc.

8 Diathesis-Stress Model
We inherit tendencies toward particular behavioral traits which may become activated during times of stress Particular life events may trigger the symptoms of a disorder

9 Diathesis-Stress Model
Example: Individual with a genetic vulnerability, a history of childhood abuse, and current stress in adulthood These factors interact to influence the development of symptoms

10 Genes and Environments Influence Each Other
Our genetic vulnerability may increase the chance that we will experience stress Example: we may have a personality trait/temperament that draws us toward stressful environments and relationships, which lead to depression Niche-picking: genes may lead us to “select” certain environments

11 Recent Research: Genetic Contributions
Genetic contributions to disorders may be overstated in the research Some undermine the importance of environments in the expression of genes The critical role of early environments and experiences

12 Summarizing Genetic Contributions
Genes must always be understood in combination with environments (nature + nurture) Maladaptive environments may impact us more or less depending on our genetic inheritance

13 The Neuron Fig. 3.8

14 Understanding Neurons
140 billion neurons in the brain Transmit information; chemical and electrical events Neurotransmitters: chemicals affecting the brain and body; implicated in psychopathology

15 Neurotransmitters An increasingly complex picture
Not just “too much or too little”- neurotransmitters affect information processing Psychotropic medications may block or inhibit the production of neurotransmitters, or may increase production

16 Overview: Neurotransmitters
GABA (inhibitory): affects information transmission- GABA tends to reduce anxiety- anti-anxiety meds allow more GABA to attach to receptors Serotonin: information processing and mood regulation- different effects depending on the area of the brain

17 Overview: Neurotransmitters
Dopamine: has a general effect, allowing other neurotransmitters to function; associated with pleasure seeking; revision to the “dopamine hypothesis” Norepinephrine: does not appear to directly link to psychopathology, but works with other neurotransmitters; associated with fear responses, blood pressure, and heart rate

18 Neurotransmitters New hypotheses and findings:
Genetic contributions may affect patterns of neurotransmitter activity, which may influence personality characteristics and behaviors Environments and experiences can shape and change neurotransmitter activity over time- brain scans with patients receiving therapy

19 Neurotransmitters Placebo effect:
The brain circuits/neurotransmitter activity change based on our expectations

20 Brain Changes- Learning and Experience
Learning/experience influences the structure of the neurons and the number of receptors Studies: Active vs. inactive rats- active rats have more neural connections and more active brains Deprivation/enrichment: brain scans of children

21 Dendritic Spreading Fig. 3.11

22 Lessons from Behavioral and Cognitive Science
The manner in which we process information shapes the learning and maintenance of certain behaviors Events become “paired” and associated with each other

23 Lessons from Behavioral and Cognitive Science
Learned Helplessness: Seligman When we give up and stop trying to cope In response to stress that we perceive as beyond our control Based on our attributions

24 New Research: Learned Optimism
Seligman- we function better psychologically and physically when we have hope, positive beliefs about ourselves, and positive attitudes The mind-body connection

25 Emotions Emotions contribute to the development of psychopathology
Alarm reactions: fight or flight responses Our emotional appraisals of a situation shape our reactions (behaviors)

26 Emotions Research on suppression: activates the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for fight or flight responses) Suppression is linked with psychopathology

27 The Role of Culture Culture shapes what we learn to fear, expect, believe, etc. Example: case studies of Voodoo death Cultures have difference constructions of psychopathology

28 The Role of Culture Culture shapes our constructions of gender
Perspectives on gender shape what we find socially acceptable Example: men and experiences of fear and emotion; women and body image

29 Social Relationships and Mental Health
Research: the experience of social support affects life expectancy Physical and mental health is influenced by the quality and extent of our social relationships Research: having a pet has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure

30 The Role of Social Stigma
The stigma of labels can affect individuals affected by mental health problems Beliefs about moral weakness and unpredictability/aggression

31 Developmental Considerations
Developmental stages and prior experience shapes the experience of psychopathology Equifinality: the notion that there are multiple pathways and interacting factors that influence the development of psychopathology

32 Conclusions New research findings are changing our understanding of psychopathology A multidimensional perspective is needed to understand the development of psychological disorder

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