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PSYC 152 Syllabus 1

Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 152
Summer 2010

Class Times: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Classroom: John Dewey hall, 212

Instructors: Kirsten Johnson, B. S. Kate Linnea, B.A.

Phone: (802) 656-5566 (802) 656-5566
Office: 124 John Dewey Hall 327 John Dewey Hall
Office Hours: By appointment only By appointment only

Teaching Assistant: Julianna Hogan, M.Ed.

Phone: (802) 656-3831
Office: 124 John Dewey Hall
Office Hours: By appointment only

Course Objectives

1. Develop excitement about the field of abnormal psychology, particularly the

challenges researchers and clinicians face in their search for the causes of
psychological disorders and ways to prevent and treat them.

2. Learn issues related to defining abnormal behavior. Emphasis will be placed on

historical and cultural conceptualizations of abnormality.

3. Define issues related to the diagnosis and classification of behavior problems in

adults, including the current DSM-IV multiaxial classification system and
alternative approaches. Special attention will be placed on the continuum
between normal and pathological behavior.

4. List up-to-date descriptive information about the symptoms, prevalence, risk

factors, and course for different adult psychological disorders.

5. Describe different theoretical perspectives on abnormal behavior. Students will

develop an understanding of the basic assumptions behind alternative models
that attempt to explain abnormal behavior. For each psychological disorder
covered, students shall identify the proposed causes and treatments offered by
each perspective.

6. Identify different scientific methodologies used in current research to study

abnormal behavior.
PSYC 152 Syllabus 2


Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2007). Abnormal Psychology (3rd Edition). New York, NY: The
McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (4th Edition Text Revision). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric
Press, Inc. (ISBN 0-89042-061-0)
*Note: If you are not going to purchase your own copy of the DSM, you will need to gain
access to a copy at the library on a regular basis.

Course Requirements

Readings: Assigned chapters are listed on the course schedule. Occasional additional
readings will be assigned (e.g., case studies). Lectures and discussions will relate to
the text and build on the subject for each class (e.g., case examples, research findings,
discussion of controversial issues, identification of main concepts and facts). Thus, you
should complete your reading assignment prior to class to lay the foundation for this
supplemental material.

Exams: Three non-cumulative exams (worth 100 points each) will be given. Each exam
will cover assigned reading material (whether or not it has been covered during class),
class lectures, and any films shown. Exams will consist of multiple choice and short-
answer questions.

Class Participation & Attendance: Because issues related to abnormal psychology are
frequently value-laden, students will be asked to exercise critical thinking skills
throughout the course. In order to make class discussions interesting and enjoyable for
everyone, class participation is expected and encouraged. Each student will be
responsible for generating at least one written discussion question based on the
readings and will be encouraged to share their question with the class. Discussion
questions will be collected at the end of class. You can earn up to 80 points for your
written discussion questions (10 points per class). Attendance will be taken, and each
student will be responsible for the material covered in class, regardless of attendance.
Only one unexcused absence is permitted.


Exam grades will be posted on WebCT as soon as they are available:
Login using your UVM NetID and password (same as your UVM email username and
password) and click on this course.
PSYC 152 Syllabus 3

Final grades will be determined by summing test scores and points accrued from
discussion questions (total possible points = 380). Thus, your grade will be calculated
by dividing your total points earned by total possible points. The following scale will be
used to determine your final grade:

A-Range B-Range C-Range D-Range

100 - 94 A 89 - 87 B+ 79 - 77 C+ 69 - 67 D+ 59 and below F
93 - 90 A- 86 - 84 B 76 - 74 C 66 - 64 D
83 - 80 B- 73 - 70 C- 63 - 60 D-

Classroom Environment

This course shall seek to uphold the University of Vermont’s Classroom Code of
Conduct and Policy on Academic Honesty (Source: 2006 – 2007 University of Vermont
Official Catalogue).

University of Vermont Classroom Code of Conduct:

Faculty and students will at all times conduct themselves in a manner that serves to
maintain, promote, and enhance the high quality academic environment befitting the
University of Vermont. To this end, it is expected that all members of the learning
community will adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Faculty and students will attend all regularly scheduled classes, except for those
occasions warranting an excused absence under the University Attendance
Policy (e.g., religious, athletic, and medical).
2. Students and faculty will arrive prepared for class and on time, and they will
remain in class until the class is dismissed.
3. Faculty and students will treat all members of the learning community with
respect. Toward this end, they will promote academic discourse and the free
exchange of ideas by listening with civil attention to comments made by all
4. Students and faculty will maintain an appropriate academic climate by refraining
from all actions that disrupt the learning environment (e.g., making noise,
ostentatiously not paying attention, and leaving and reentering the classroom
inappropriately). (Please turn your cell phones off).

Specific Requests
I request that students speak one at a time, and do not carry on conversations with
other students during class. If you know you need to leave class early for any reason,
please sit near the exit and try not to disrupt your classmates when you leave. Please
turn cell phones off during class and exams. If your cell phone rings during an exam,
you will have to leave the exam at that time.

(Excerpts from the) University of Vermont Policy on Academic Honesty:

Academic dishonesty or an offense against academic honesty includes acts that may
subvert or compromise the integrity of the educational process. Such acts are serious
PSYC 152 Syllabus 4

offenses that insult the integrity of the entire academic community. Offenses against
academic honesty are any acts that would have the effect of unfairly promoting or
enhancing one’s academic standing within the entire community of learners which
includes, but is not limited to, the faculty and students of the University of Vermont.
Academic dishonesty includes knowingly permitting or assisting any person in the
committing an act of academic dishonesty.

Examples of academic dishonesty include: Communicating in any manner with other

students during an examination; copying or giving aid during an examination; bringing
notes or aids to an examination; possessing or providing to another person an
examination or portions of an examination prior to or subsequent to the administration of
the examination without the authorization of the instructor; and substituting for,
arranging for substitution by another student, or otherwise representing oneself as
another person during an examination session or comparable circumstance.

Special Accommodations and ACCESS

If you believe that there is anything that the instructor needs to know that might improve
your learning environment in this class, please contact her by phone, or in person, as
soon as possible.

UVM, through its ACESSS office, provides accommodation, consultation, collaboration

and education support services to students with disabilities. To contact the ACCESS
office, go to:; email them at; or call at
656-7753. If you need specific accommodations in this class, please bring a letter
from ACCESS to the instructor within the first 3 weeks of class so that we can make
appropriate arrangements. If you are certified by ACCESS to take exams in the Exam
Proctoring Center, please contact the Teaching Assistant for this course at least 1 week
before any exam to say that you will be taking the exam in the Proctoring Center and to
notify us of the scheduled time of your exam. This is how we will arrange for your
exam. ACCESS students are expected to take all exams on the same dates as the
regularly scheduled exams.
PSYC 152 Syllabus 5

Class Schedule
(Dates and scheduled topics are tentative and somewhat flexible).

Date Topic Readings

M (June 21) Course Introduction Syllabus
Defining Abnormality
Theories of Abnormality 1**, 2

**Ch. 1: you are only responsible for reading the “Defining Abnormality” section

W (June 23) The Research Endeavor 3

Assessing and Diagnosing Abnormality 4

TH (June 24) Anxiety Disorders 6, 7

Anxiety Disorders Treatment Case Study

M (June 28) Exam #1 ---

W (June 30) Mood Disorders 9

Suicide 10

TH (July 1) Schizophrenia 11
Eating Disorders 15

M (July 5) No Class – UVM Holiday

W (July 7) Dissociative Disorders 8

Somatoform Disorders 8
Substance Use Disorders 17

TH (July 8) Exam #2 ---

M (July 12) Personality Disorders 12

Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders 16

W (July 14) Cognitive Disorders and Life-Span Issues 14

Psychology and Physical Health 18
Issues of Comorbidity TBD

TH (July 15) Exam #3 ---

**Assigned reading is due before class.

**Note: Class schedule is subject to slight change throughout the semester.

Changes will be announced in class and students are responsible for
acknowledging and adhering to these changes.
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Syllabus Contract

By signing this contract, I verify that I have read and understood the syllabus for
the Summer 2010 Abnormal Psychology course.

Specifically, I understand that make-up exams are not permitted, and that
documentation from the Dean will be required for the professor to consider a
make-up exam.


PRINT your name


Please return this form to the instructor (in person or in the mailroom) before the
end of the first week of class. Any student who does not return this form signed
may risk being withdrawn from the course if the form is not returned by the
add/drop deadline.