Abnormal Psychology



  1. Read the case studies presented below. As you read each case study, be sure to consider what you have learned from class and the textbook.
  2. Based on the material from lecture and the textbook, answer the questions associated with each case study. Be as specific as you can to earn the maximum number of points. You may use your notes from class, your textbook, or any other bibliographic materials/research articles to help you answer the questions. You may NOT consult with other people (except for clarifying with the TAs or the Professor). You are expected to do your own work, and comply with all University expectations for academic integrity.
    1. Since this assignment is intended to provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate your capacity to understand the presented material, use your own words and thoughts; one-word answers or simply quoting from the textbook (or other sources) as your answer will not be adequate for earning points.
    2. Format: be sure to include your full name and student ID number and write in full sentences. Your responses should NOT extend beyond 2 pages and must be in Times New Roman, 12-point font and 1-inch margins.
      1. Write in full sentences, and use your own words, to demonstrate your full understanding of the material and the concepts.
      2. 4.      Submission: Answers must be submitted electronically via Blackboard by the due date: Wednesday,  November 27th, 2013 at 2:00 PM. Your response must be attached in a Word Document and uploaded onto the assignment link in Blackboard. In case of any difficulties, please contact the course TAs for assistance in advance of the submission deadline.









PSY 35000-002: Abnormal Psychology, Fall 2013

Short Answer Assignment: Case Studies
DUE: Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 at 2:00 PM

FULL NAME: _______________________________

Student ID Number: ________________

In the spaces provided on this sheet, answer each of the questions based on the case studies, material from the lectures and course textbook, and any other sources you consult (following the GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS). Point values for each answer are included in parentheses beside each question. This assignment will be worth a total of 25 points.


Case Study 1: Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Sam’s family is from India and has recently immigrated to the US. They moved into a new neighborhood in New York that consists of a relatively large South Asian community. According to his parents, Sam’s early development seemed quite normal. By Sam’s second birthday, however, his parents began to have concerns. He had been somewhat slower than his older sister in achieving some developmental milestones (sitting up alone/crawling). He would crawl normally for a few days and then not crawl at all for a while. Although he made babbling sounds, he had not developed any speech and did not even seem to understand anything his parents said to him. Sam’s parents reported many frustrating experiences in which they tried to force him to obey a command or say “Mom” or “Dad.” When his parents tried to change Sam’s daily routine, he would sometimes go into a tantrum during one of these situations, yelling, screaming and throwing himself to the floor. As he neared his third birthday, Sam began engaging in repetitive hand movements; he would suddenly flap his hands rapidly for several minutes, and other times he rolled his eyes around in their sockets. He still did not speak but he made smacking sounds and sometimes he would burst out laughing for no apparent reason. Sam’s social development was also worrying his parents. His family was concerned that Sam will be treated differently by their community because he wasn’t acting “normally”. Although he would let his parents hug and touch him, he would not look at them and generally seemed indifferent and non-responsive to his parents’ attention. He also did not play at all with his older sister. Even his solitary play was strange. He did not engage in make-believe play with his toys – for example, pretending to drive a toy car into a gas station. Instead, he was more likely just to manipulate a toy, such as a car, holding it and repetitively spinning its wheels. The only thing that really seemed to interest him was a ceiling fan in the living room. He was content to sit there for as long as permitted, watching intently as the fan spun around and around. He would often have temper tantrums when the fan was turned off. Sam’s family was also reluctant to take him to a psychiatrist or doctor because they were worried about how they would be judged by the community and people around them. They began to avoid attending family or friend gatherings because they were afraid of what their friends would say about Sam.

Questions for Case Study 1:

  1. Provide a DSM-5 diagnosis for Sam and identify 5 specific symptoms that Sam exhibits that helped you make your diagnosis. Use the DSM-5 criteria in your textbook and from lecture to help make your diagnosis. (3 points)


  1. Choose 1 out of 3 models: cognitive, medical/biological, behavioral
    1. Identify 1 of Sam’s symptoms and apply the general principles of your chosen perspective to explain the specific characteristics of that symptom (you can use a symptom you mentioned in #1). What does your chosen perspective say about why the symptom occurs? (3 points)


  1. Choose a treatment approach you have learned about from class and/or your textbook.
    1. In your own words, provide a brief general description of your chosen treatment approach. What are the basic principles of this approach? (2 points)


  1. Choose 1 of Sam’s symptoms. Identify the goal for treating the symptom. (1 point)


  1. Describe the procedure a therapist would use with your chosen treatment to treat this symptom. What steps would a therapist of this orientation take to reach his/her goal? What would the client (Sam) experience? (3 points)








Case Study #2: Personality Disorders

Bill was the third child in the Jackson family. His parents, originally from Europe, had immigrated when Bill was 9 years old. Bill’s family lived in a relatively low-income neighborhood. Bill and his older brother, Jack, quickly became part of the neighborhood group and participated in all the activities, including baseball, football, and outings to the beach. Jack became a leader in the group and Bill, though not as well liked as his brother, was always included. However, Bill’s relationships were characterized by a good deal of conflict. When things did not go Bill’s way, his response was simple and direct – a fight. Although he lost these fights as often as he won them, fighting became a consistent pattern. His escalating daredevil behavior seemed more peculiar than his aggressiveness. Bill constantly wanted to meet with his friends to engage in window-breaking competitions, and at age 10, petty theft replaced window breaking as his major source of excitement. He would steal anything – candy, fruit, clothing, toys – not just things he wanted. In fact, he often threw away the things he had stolen. He seemed more interested in the excitement than in any actual material gain. During the next 3 years, the neighborhood reported more glimpses of Bill’s family life. Bill’s father was frequently out of work and seemed to have trouble holding a job for more than several months. He drank heavily, and at the first glimpse of their drunken father, Bill and Jack would get out of his sight as quickly as possible. Both boys reported frequent beatings, particularly when their father had been drinking. Their father and mother also fought often, and his mother may well have been physically abused.

Throughout the next few years, Bill’s pattern of problem behaviors escalated. He continued to steal regularly, even from members of his family. He frequently skipped school and when his brother tried to talk to him, Bill would genuinely seem to agree that he had to change and would express shame and regret about what he had done most recently. However, within a few days the old pattern would be back in full force. When Bill was 15, he had been convicted of car theft and sexual assault the previous year. He showed no concern for the assault victim and seemed more disgusted at the victim rather than himself. Bill then began to shrug off the supposed negative consequences of his behavior, saying he was too smart to ever end up in jail. However, after attempting a bank robbery, Bill was tried, convicted and sentenced to 10 years in the penitentiary.



Questions for Case Study 2:

  1. Provide a DSM-5 diagnosis for Bill and identify 5 specific symptoms that he exhibits that helped you make your diagnosis. Use the DSM-5 criteria in your textbook and from lecture to help make your diagnosis. (3 points)
  1. Choose 1 out of 3 perspectives: cognitive/behavioral, biological, sociocultural
    1. Identify 1 of Bill’s symptoms and apply the general principles of your chosen perspective to explain specific characteristics of that symptom (you can use a symptom you mentioned in #1). (3 points)


  1. In your own words, identify 2 limitations associated with this perspective. Consider factors in this case study that your chosen perspective would not be able to account for. Based on the facts presented in this case study, how could these limitations be remedied by using another perspective? (2 points)


  1. Compare and contrast Bill’s disorder with another personality disorder. Describe 2 similarities and 2 differences between the two disorders. (3 points)


  1. Identify 1 symptom/characteristic of Bill’s behaviors that would be characteristic of another personality disorder and justify your answer. (2 points)


Use the order calculator below and get started! Contact our live support team for any assistance or inquiry.