PS401 Abnormal Psychology

for U1D 2007

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PS 401 Abnormal Psychology


U1D 2007 DA


Brewster, Franklin R., II


Senior Instructor


M.A. in Counseling, Chapman University
B.S. in Social Psychology from Park College (Suma Cum Laude)

Office Location

Park University Davis-Monthan Campus Office

Office Hours

Wednesdays,  5:30pm- 6:30pm (call for an appointment or stop by)

Daytime Phone

520- 241- 2959


Semester Dates

June 4th- July 25th

Class Days


Class Time

7:30 - 10:10 PM

Credit Hours



Comer. R., (2007). Abnormal Psychology, (6th Ed.). United States: Worth Publishers.
Gorenstein, E. & Comer, R. (2007). Case studies in abnormal psychology, (6th Ed.). Worth Publishers.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:

Comer, R. (2001). Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology, 3rd Ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.
Wilson, G., O'Leary, K., Nathon, P., & Clark, L. (1996). Abnormal Psychology, integrating perspectives. Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon.  

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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

Educational Philosophy:

I believe in the "transformational" view of learning where the student interacts within their community as part of the learning process.  The student in an active participant, not a passive learner.  I believe in challenging students to consider new and different views by being introduced to new concepts.  I challenge students to critically evaluate the new information and to reach their own conclusions. 

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:

Lecture, class discussions, videos, quizzes, exams, core assessment, presentations, and case studies. 


Exam I                        100 points
Exam II                       100 points
Quizes                           70 points
Core Assessment          70 points
Class Participation         30 points 
1.  Students are expected to read all assignments prior to class and be prepared to discuss the material.
2.  Students will be required to complete two exams covering assigned material to include lectures and handouts. 3.  Students will complete 6 online qiuzzes each worth 10 points.  
4.  Students will read and be prepared to discuss assigned case studies.
5.  Students will be required to complete a Core Assessment as outlined in this syllabus.  The core assessment will consist of 4 papers and a final case study paper during the semester to answer the case study questions in the syllabus. Evaluation will be at least one page; Synthesis will be at least 2-3 pages; Analysis will be at least 3-5 pages; Application will be at least 2-3 pages. Each student will present their findings to the class in electronic format to be posted to the "Doc Sharing" web site.  The final case study paper will include the four previous papers where appropriate.  All papers will be in APA format. 
360- 400 points         A
320- 359 points         B
280- 319 points         C
240- 279 points         D
Below 239 points       F  

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late assignments will be marked down one letter grade (40 points) for each class period they are late and a failing grade assigned if not submitted before the final exam.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Students must be respectful to all points of view, especially to those which are different from their own.  Respect and courtesy must prevail in the classroom.  Students are responsible to ensure all work is submitted timely.  Students should plan ahead so as not to be late with assignments due to equipment malfunctions.

June 4
Chapters 1 & 2

Overview of course
Review Syllabus


June 6
Chapter 3

Review Care Assesment expectations


June 11
Chapter 4


Online Quiz on chapters 4 & 5, due before class,(10pts).

June 13
Chapter 5
Case Study #2


Core paper on Evaluation case study questions due, (30pts).

June 18
Chapter 6
Case Study #1


Online quiz on chapters 6, 7, & 8 due before class, (10pts).

June 20
Chapters 7 & 8


Core paper on Synthesis case study questions due, (30pts).

June 25
Chapters 9 & 10

Review for Mid-term Exam I

Online quiz chapters 9 & 10 due before class, (10pts).

June 27
Mid-term Exam I



July 2
Chapter 11 & 12
Case Study #9


Online quiz on chapters 11 & 12 due before class, (10pts).

July 4
Internet Assignment


Core paper on Analysis case study questions due, (30pts).

July 9th
Chapter 13
Case Study # 11


Online quiz chapters 13 14, & 15 due before class, (10pts).

July 11
Chapters 14 & 15
Case Study #12


Core paper on Application case study questions due, (30pts).

July 16
Chapter 16
Case Study #13 & 14


Online quiz on chapters 16, 17, & 18, due before class, (10pts).

July 18
Chapters 17 & 18
Case Study #16



July 23
Chapter 19

Review for exam

Post Case Study to "Doc Sharing".

July 25
Final Exam II


Submit Final Case Study, (35pts).




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

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.

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:5/14/2007 9:09:55 PM