How do we decide whether human behavior is "normal" versus "abnormal?" Is this a medical or a moral judgment? To what extent should we hold people responsible for their abnormal behavior? Is abnormal behavior a function of genetic and/or physiological differences that some people are born with or develop? Is it primarily a learned behavior and the result of a person's interaction with his or her environment? Or is it a combination of the two?
In this course we will examine these controversial questions as a way of increasing our understanding of abnormal psychology. Contemporary perspectives will include biological, psycho-social and existential approaches to understanding behavior. Lecture and discussion format.
Course Requirements and Grades Paper 25% Mid-term examination 25% Debate 20% Final examination 30% Total = 100%
Required Texts and Readings
Goode, E. (Ed.) (1992). Annual Editions Drugs, Society, and Behavior 92/93, Guilford, Conn.: Dushkin Publishing Group.
Peele, S., Brodsky, A., & Arnold, M. (1991). The Truth About Addiction and Recovery. New York: Simon & Schuster
The following articles may be purchased bound at the bookstore:
Cohen, M., Liebson, I.A., Faillace, L.A., & Allen, R.P. (1971). Moderate drinking by chronic alcoholics: A schedule-dependent phenomenon. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 153, 434- 444.
Edwards, G., Orford, J., Egert, S., Guthrie, S., Hawker, A., Hensman, C., Mitcheson, M., Oppenheimer, E., & Taylor, C. (1977). Alcoholism: A controlled trial of "treatment" and "advice." Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 38, 1004-1031.
Gottheil, E., Crawford, H.D., & Cornelison, F.S. (1973). The alcoholic's ability to resist available alcohol. Diseases of the Nervous System, 34, 80-84.
Gottheil, E., Alterman, A.I., Skoloda, T.E., & Murphy, B.F. (1973). Alcoholics' patterns of controlled drinking. American Journal of Psychiatry, 130, 418-422.
Levine, H.G. (1978). The discovery of addiction: Changing conceptions of habitual drunkenness in America. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 39, 143-174.
Marlatt, G.A., Demming, B., & Reid, J.B. (1973). Loss of control drinking in alcoholics: An experimental analogue. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 81, 233-241.
Merry, J. (1966). The "loss of control" myth. Lancet, June 4, 1257- 1258.
Szasz, T.S. (1972). Bad habits are not diseases. Lancet, July 8, 83- 84.
Tuchfeld, B.S. (1981). Spontaneous remission in alcoholics: Empirical observations and theoretical implications. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 42, 626-641.
Alexander, B.K. (1990). Peaceful Measures: Canada's Way Out of the "War on Drugs." Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Fingarette, H. (1988). Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease. Berkeley, Ca.: University of California Press.
Write a five-page, typed, double-spaced, paper on someone you know well, a friend, family member, (or yourself), that has had or has a problem with addiction to drugs. Describe the person in terms of age, sex, socioeconomic background, education, family, state of health, legal problems, lifestyle and factors you think have contributed to the drinking problem. Differentiate between what you are able to observe about this person and what you imagine or interpret to be the reasons for his/her behavior. Describe what you think this person needs to do to take better care of him/herself, e.g., personality strategies, behavioral strategies, environmental strategies. Protect the identity of the person you are writing about. Make two copies of the paper, one to keep for yourself and one to be handed in to the instructor.
A class debate will take place on December 1. All students must participate by making at least a 3-5 minute statement, depending on the size of the class. Your statement will be graded on the basis of presentation (eye and voice contact), as well as clarity of reasoning. You must submit a typed, single-spaced, maximum of one-page copy of your remarks to the instructor by the end of class on December 1. Your name must appear centered at the top of the page under the word "Pro" or "Con" depending on the side of the debate you will be arguing. The topic for the debate will be announced in class.
* Clear and accurate writing will be taken into account in assigning grades. Material discussed in class, and not in any of the readings, may form the basis for questions on the examinations. One grade reduction for five class absences. Students are responsible for anything covered in class during their absence. Readings must be completed by the session to which they are assigned. Additional readings may be assigned during the course.
Class Schedule Date Topic Reading September 15 Introduction and overview What is behavior, normal versus abnormal? "Thomas Szasz: The Myth of Mental Illness" (film) Chapter 1 September 22 Models of abnormal behavior and etiology Chapters 2-4 September 29 Papers due Discussion of papers October 6 Patterns of maladaptive behavior Chapters 5-8 October 13 Addiction as abnormal behavior? Chapter 9 October 20 Sexual disorders and preferences Chapter 10 Review for mid-term exam October 27 Mid-term examination November 3 Discussion of mid-term exam Mood disorders and the "right" to suicide Chapter 11 November 10 Schizophrenia and delusional disorders Chapter 12 November 17 Treatment methods Chapters 16-18 November 24 Contemporary issues The insanity defense and coerced treatment Chapter 19 Debate preparation December 1 Class debate December 8 Continuation of debate if needed Review for final examination December 15 Final examination
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