PS401 Abnormal Psychology

for S2T 2007

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PS 401 Abnormal Psychology


S2T 2007 DL


Butler, Joseph E.


Adjunct Faculty


Ph.B Psychology
MS Counseling Psychology

Office Location

Bemidji, Minnesota

Office Hours

10-5 M-F

Daytime Phone

218 586 2524

Other Phone



Semester Dates

S2T 2007

Class Days


Class Time



PS 101

Credit Hours



There are two (2) texts  for the class.

1.  Abnormal Psychology, 6th Edition, Ronald Comer, 2006, Worth Publishers.  It is required that you either have the CD-ROM for use in this class or access the material on Park's Intranet ("Plan B" information below).  Used books will not have the CD-ROM.

2.  Case Studies in Abnormal Psychology, Ethan Gorenstein and Ronald Comer, 2001, Worth Publishers. ISBN# 0-7167-3854-6.

It is recommended that you use the book service located on the Park website MBS because they are prepared to have your texts in stock and can provide them with a quick turn around time. They have been informed about the necessity of the CD-ROM which will accompany new textbooks. 

Plan B:  If you order a used textbook it will not have a CD-ROM.  You can access the CD-ROM material on Park University's Intranet. the passcode is Comer 5e  This plan may not provide you with as easy (timewise--dial-up internet connections may take a long time to load) access as having your own CD, but it will provide an alternative.  The videos on the CD are an important supplement to studying and understanding the various disorders covered in this class.  Only use the links to the individual videos.  Do not download the entire CD information.

The textbook website will be used for assignments in the class.  Please book mark for easy reference.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information
Advising - Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Please contact your Campus Center for advising or enrollment adjustment information.
Online Classroom Technical Support - For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the website, and click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.
FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.

Course Description:
An introduction and investigation of the causes, development, sympto-matology and treatment of abnormal behavior. Primary focus is an eclectic view of persons and their adaptation of their environment. PREREQUISITE: PS 101. 3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate appropriate use of abnormal human behavior concepts, guided by the criteria of distress, deviance, dysfunction, danger.
  2. Differentiate and evaluate theories and treatments of psychopathology.
  3. Display ethical and responsible use of the DSM-IV.
  4. Identify the historical and cultural context of psychopathology.
  5. Critically examine the contextual influences on the theories and treatments of psychopathology.

Core Assessment:

Core Assessment Case Study

PS 401 Abnormal Psychology


DIRECTIONS:  After reading the case study, please answer the questions that are listed at the end of the case study.  Please list the category of the question e.g. EVALUATION, SYNTHESIS, etc., and number each question according the numbers in the category listing.




Presenting Complaint


Thirty-two-year-old Randy lives in a cabin in a remote rural area of Montana. He moved here 10 years ago after he left his parent's home in suburban Sacramento, California. The cabin has no electricity or running water. Randy considers himself a survivalist; he heats his house with wood and gets his water from a nearby mountain stream or from the rainwater he collects. He grows vegetables and kills game and birds. He has a 20-year-old truck that he uses to go into town, a 100-mile trip from his isolated home. He inherited $50,000 from an aunt several years ago. He keeps the money in a passbook savings account in town and withdraws cash when he needs it. He doesn't have a regular job, but people have found that he is good with his hands. He does odd carpentry jobs occasionally, if he is in the mood.


When Randy goes into town, it is usually to get a couple of hundred dollars of cash out of the bank, buy a few things from the grocery store, such as coffee, milk, and household items, treat himself to lunch at the diner, and go to the library. On these trips, he might pick up a job or two.


The people who know Randy refer to him as "odd" but harmless. He often talks to himself when he eats or works. Some say that if they listen closely he appears to be carrying on a conversation with one or two other people. Randy wears worn-out clothing and has long hair and a bushy beard. He is often dirty and disheveled, but he is not so different in that regard from other men in the area.


The diner where Randy eats lunch has a television that is always on. Randy appears agitated by the television and he mumbles something like, "Turn that thing off. It is messing with my head." One of the waitresses humors him and asks the other clients if she can turn it off. Most agree. When that waitress isn't working, the television stays on. Then Randy doesn't linger over his meal.


The librarian says Randy must be very bright, because he checks out history and philosophy books. In fact, she often orders books he wants from a large city library, as their library caters to the simple tastes of its rural populace.


One day, Randy came into the restaurant extremely agitated. He was pulling at his hair and talking loudly. He asked the waitress to give him something to stop the noise. What noise, she asked? He said, "The noise in my head. Since the television stole my brain I can't stop the noise." The waitress laughed and said, "Why don't you tell us what kind of noise is in your head? Maybe we want to listen, too." At this point, Randy reached over the counter and grabbed the waitress by the blouse and shouted, "Kill the noise or I will kill you."


A scuffle ensued as the patrons in the restaurant rushed to the waitress's defense. As they struggled with Randy he got more upset. He kicked, he bit, he threatened. Someone called the police and they came to arrest Randy. He actually calmed down and told the officers, "So, it's you. Go ahead and take me. You have been after me for years—putting arsenic in my garden plot, taking money out of my bank account. And stealing my brain—don't think I forgot that. But you will pay for this. The Chief is looking for you."


Randy was arrested and charged with assault and battery on the waitress and the patrons who tried to restrain him—both misdemeanors. Randy spent the night in jail before being brought before a judge the next day. During his night in jail he continuously banged on the bars demanding that the guards turn off the television (the closed-circuit television hung on the wall outside and across from his cell). He threw his metal dinner plate at the television, cursing it and yelling, "Why are you doing this to me? You stole my brain, what else do you want?" When he was taken in front of the judge, the officers reported on his comment at the restaurant and his behavior in jail. The jail superintendent reported that he wanted Randy charged with destruction of jail property (his metal dinner tray dented the side of the television). The judge ordered a psychological evaluation to see if Randy was suffering from a mental disorder of some kind. When the judge asked Randy if he knew what a psychological evaluation was, Randy said, "Sure. They want to get inside my head. But I'm telling you, they won't find anything. My brain is missing and I don't know where I left it."


Personal and Family History


Randy was the middle of three children. His father was an electrician and his mother taught elementary school. His older brother committed suicide at the age of 30—having struggled with depression most of his adult life. His father was never diagnosed with a mental disorder, but he was known for his paranoia and eccentric behaviors. Randy's mother had learned to be quiet and passive in order to appease her volatile husband. They rarely communicated with one another, and when they did it usually ended up in an argument.


Randy was a star high-school student and had a 3.8 GPA his first year in college. He was majoring in history. When a girlfriend broke up with him, his grades started to slip and everything about him seemed to change. He slept a lot, ate mostly junk food, and stopped going to class. He was placed on academic probation. He accused the Dean of being out to "get" him. He even suggested that the Dean took his girlfriend. Eventually Randy was expelled from the college.


He went home to his parents, where he became withdrawn and paranoid. Randy was angry with his father, who mostly ignored him. His mother was afraid of him, especially when he talked to himself and yelled at the television. Once when they were gone for the weekend, Randy pulled the cable box out of the wall and took a hammer to the television set, smashing in the sides. He told his parents that the cable box was taking thoughts from his brain and sending them to the television for all to hear. "My thoughts belong to me, and to no one else. Whoever tries to take them is going to have to pay."


A neighbor of his parents suggested that Randy ought to go to the community mental health clinic. Randy's father forbid it, saying no son of mine is going to a shrink. Shrinks are for "sissies." When the neighbor asked Randy if he wanted to get some help, Randy's response was, "I don't need help. Just turn off the damn TV."

One day, Randy went to the police department and said he wanted to file a criminal complaint.


“Against whom?” the officer on duty asked.


“Against WJTA-TV,” Randy said.


Sensing that Randy was a "bit off," he asked Randy, "What did they do to you?"


"Larceny—grand larceny," Randy said. "They stole my brain and I want it back."


The officer pretended to write up a complaint and told Randy he would give it to his supervisor for approval. That appeased Randy. When he left, the officer laughed and said, "Boy, it takes all kinds."


Shortly after this incident, Randy's aunt died and left him $50,000. Randy bought an old truck, the same one he has now, packed up his clothes and books and took off. He left his parents a note reading, "Thanks for nothing." That was the last they heard from Randy.  


DSM-IV Checklist


  1. At least two of the following symptoms, each present for a significant portion of time during a one-month period:

  1. Delusions.

  2. Hallucinations.

  3. Disorganized speech.

  4. Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior.

  5. Negative symptoms.

  1. Functioning markedly below the level achieved prior to onset.

  2. Continuous signs of the disturbance for at leas six months, at least one month of which includes symptoms in full and active form (as opposed to attenuated form).

Based on APA, 2000, 1994


DIRECTIONS:  After reading the case study, please answer the questions that are listed at the end of the case study.  Please list the category of the question e.g. EVALUATION, SYNTHESIS, etc., and number each question according the numbers in the category listing





Objective #1 Demonstrate appropriate use of abnormal human behavior concepts, guided by the criteria of distress, deviance, dysfunction, danger.


1.  Describe Randy's case in terms of deviance, distress, dysfunction and danger.




Objective #4 Understand the historical and cultural context of psychopathology.

Objective # 5 Critically examine the contextual influences on the theories and treatments of psychopathology.


1.  If Randy were still living in a Sacramento suburb, what do you think might have been different in the way his situation was perceived and how might this change the outcome?

2.  If Randy were living in the late 1880's, how would he be diagnosed by the community and treated?





Objective #2   Differentiate and evaluate theories and treatments of psychopathology.


1.  What genetic factors may have played a part in Randy's schizophrenia?

2.  What biochemical abnormalities might account for Randy's symptoms?

3.  What might have been the role of family stress in Randy's disorder?

4.  What does the sociocultural view of schizophrenia contribute to our understanding of Randy's case?

5.   What medication would be most helpful for Randy?  Discuss why you chose this particular medication?

6.  What treatment modalities would be helpful to Randy in addition to medication?




Objective #3 Display the responsible use of the DSM-IV, (and not to present themselves as professional users of it).


1.  Does Randy meet the criteria for schizophrenia?  If so, identify each of symptoms and/or behaviors that satisfy the symptom criteria for schizophrenia.

2.  What type of schizophrenia does Randy display and what behavior supports your reason for selecting this?

Class Assessment:

Discussion Topic—minimum of 300 words for each question--Due on Thursday of each week

8 questions

120 points

Homework—minimum of 300 words for each question--Due on Sunday of each week

4 questions

60 points

Group Case Study Assignments—minimum of 300 words--Due on Saturday of each week

5 Case Study assignments

75 points

Group Topic/Activity--Due Saturday of week 5

1 Activity

15 points

Personality Disorder Character assignment--Due Thursday of week 7

1 assignment—300 words minimum

15 points

Week 2 Case Study—10 points (individual assignment)--Due Sunday of week 2


10 points

Mastery--Due Sunday of each week


80 points

Responses--3 points each, including "Consider This" responses--Due Sunday of each week.

26 total responses

78 points

Journal entries--1 entry each week--week 2 through week 7--Due Sunday of each week

5 points for each entry

30 points

Research Paper--Due Saturday of week 7


100 points

Core Assessment—Due Sunday of week 6.  Core Assessment Rubric in Syllabus


205 points

Midterm Exam--Due Saturday of week 4


125 points

Final Exam--Proctored essay exam to be taken by Friday of week 8.  Final exam is in 2 parts.  Part 1 is the multiple-choice exam which will be taken in the course without a proctor.  Part 2 is the essay exam which will be taken under the supervision of a proctor.


125 points



The total number of points for the course is 1038.  


90-100%                  934 - 1038 points


80-89%                    830 - 933 points


70-79%                    727 - 829 points 


60-69%                    623 - 726 points


59% and below       622 points and lower

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Submission of Late Work:

This is an interactive class and not a correspondence class therefore; assignments are expected by their due date. It is also not equitable to the other students in the class to permit late assignments to receive credit.  Assignments that are posted after the Sunday deadline will not receive credit unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor and late assignments should be the exception and not become a pattern.

Internet classes are the most effective if assignments are timely.   Not having face-to-face contact is a great challenge for this new medium of instruction and one way to feel a part of the class is to keep discussions going.  The most optimal learning environment for an online class is when assignments are posted and responded to in the week they are due. After each week is completed, the class moves onto another topic and there is little interest, nor are students expected to, in going back to read and respond to a late posting.   If you enter the class late you are expected to be completely caught up by the end of the 2nd week and assignments need to be posted on time from that point forward.


  1. Points will be deducted for lateness as follows:

Assignments and Journals:  

Thursday assignments after

Midnight on Thursday (Mountain Time) will not receive credit

Saturday assignments after

Midnight on Saturday (Mountain Time) will not receive credit

Sunday assignments after

Midnight on Sunday(Mountain Time) will not receive credit





Sunday after

midnight Mountain Time

will not receive credit





Sunday after

Midnight Mountain Time

- 5 points



Monday after

Midnight Mountain Time

no credit will be received (after this date the Midterm Exam cannot be accessed)


Research Paper:



Saturday after

Midnight Mountain Time

24-hour "grace" time

Sunday after

Midnight Mountain Time

- 5 points

Monday after

Midnight Mountain Time

-10 points

Tuesday after

Midnight Mountain Time

no credit will be received

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Online Etiquette/Courtesy:  Online communications need to be composed with fairness, honesty and tact.  Spelling and grammar are very important in an online course.  What you put into an online course reflects on your level of professionalism.  It is important not to take disagreement personally.  Responses to different ideas and observations need to be objective.  Being objective means maintaining boundaries and not making personal attacks on the ability of others or making statements that have the potential to be taken personally.  An important part of online learning is discussion.  Differences in thinking are good because our knowledge is broadened.  Because we have differences, we will have conflict.  The important thing is to handle conflict in a way that does not create defensiveness which blocks learning.  Here are online references that discuss online writing and netiquette .

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
See "Class Assessment" for more specific details.

Midterm Exam--due Sunday of week 4.

Final Exam--2 parts. The multiple-choice exam, part 1, will be taken in the class without a proctor and will be due Sunday of week 8. The essay exam, part 2, will be taken with a proctor and is to be completed by Friday of week 8.
Core Assessment--due Sunday of week 6.
Research Paper--due Saturday of week 7.

Discussion Topic (8)--due Thursday of each week.

Discussion Topic Responses (2 each week)--due Sunday of each week.

Homework Assignments (4)--due Sunday of each week.

Mastery Quizzes (8)--due Sunday of each week.

Group Case Study assignments from the Casebook--due Saturday of each week.

1 Group Activity--due Saturday.

Case Study--individual assignment--due Sunday of week 2.

Journal entries (7)--due Sunday of each week.

Consider This (5) discussions--due Sunday of each week.

Reading of the text and casebook assignments.

Links provided in the lectures.

Forums, Research Questions, Case Studies, links located on the textbook website.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
In addition to the information on plagiarism provided in the Syllabus, it is important to add additional information that will prevent problems that have occurred in previous classes.

Assignments are expected to use outside sources such as reliable websites, the textbook Doc Sharing and Webliography information to support your ideas, but this information needs to be integrated into the paper in appropriate ways to highlight and support your ideas, observations and conclusions. This information should not be the major part of your assignment or response.  Information from outside sources needs to be evaluated and discussed  critically.  Outside information is not to be used instead of your own thoughts and observations.  

The assignments must NOT contain large chunks of quotes. When outside sources are used, they need to be documented within the assignment and at the end. Direct quotes (used very sparingly) need to be in quotation marks. It is not acceptable to copy directly from the textbook or websites even if this information is documented at the end of your assignment. Assignments need to be in your own words indicating that you have read and understood the information. A report of the material is not acceptable—the information needs to be applied to the specific questions that are asked in the assignment.

Responses need to follow the above expectations as well. The information used from outside sources needs to be described and discussed as to why this information supports either the question or the assignment of another student. It is not enough to just provide a list with little description or discussion.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:2/25/2007 4:55:17 PM