Overview of Course
This course presents an overview of the field of abnormal psychology—the study of atypical patterns of behavior, cognition, and affect—from biopsychosocial, cultural, systemic, and social justice perspectives. We will explore major mental disorders, including neurodevelopmental disorders, substance use disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, trauma- and stress-induced disorders, personality disorders, and eating disorders. We will discuss how conceptualizations of these disorders vary across cultures, and the prevalence and consequences of mental illness in many areas of the world. Attention will be paid to the theoretical perspectives and research related to the contributors to mental disorders, with a focus on adverse childhood experiences and social injustice—inequitable distribution of resources, opportunities, and basic protections—on mental health. Students will be introduced to leading methods for the assessment of and interventions for these mental disorders, and the disparities in diagnosis and treatment based on race, ethnicity, gender, SES, sexual orientation, and gender identity and the consequences of these disparities. Students will learn to critically evaluate the benefits and disadvantages of the diagnostic systems, including the DSM-5-TR, with particular focus on the controversial processes by which it is developed, its enormous societal significance, and potential impact on people’s lives.