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Department of Psychology
University of Mississippi

PSY 311 | Psychopathology: Integrative Approaches

Abnormal Psychology is taught by several different faculty, including Laura J. Dixon, Carey Bernini Dowling, and John Young.

Dr. Dixon’s research emphasizes anxiety disorders and stress-related disorders, misophonia, and transdiagnostic processes underlying anxiety and related disorders.

Dr. Dowling’s research interests are broadly related to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the prevention of externalizing behavior problems through parenting interventions, and the promotion of optimal development in children, adolescents, and their families.

Dr. Young’s research focuses broadly on evidence-based services for children and adolescents. This includes interests in methods of dissemination, integrating scientific assessment strategies into applied environments, and evaluation of healthcare delivery systems.

The course is designed to introduce students to the characteristics, causes, and treatment of psycholopatholocial behavior.  Students gain historical perspectives, contemporary frameworks, and learn about issues related to classification, diagnosis, and assessment. The course also explores the current diagnostic criteria, and the field’s current understanding regarding the etiology and treatment of, various psychological disorders based primarily on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5.0 (DSM-5).

Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on applying concepts and theories as well as thinking critically about the material. Students who master these course objectives are prepared to take advanced coursework in this topic, understand individuals who have various psychological disorders better, and be a more informed consumer of information related to psychopathology. It is well worth the effort to master these concepts for personal and professional futures.

Students learn to

  • Describe how psychological disorders are defined and be able to explain what each of the major aspects of the definition mean.
  • Summarize how psychology studies psychological disorders, their etiology, and their treatment.
  • Describe the major theoretical approaches to the study, understanding, and treatment of psychological disorders.
  • Explain how assessment and diagnosis are conducted and differentiate high quality assessment from low quality assessment.
  • Recognize issues related to assessment, diagnosis, and classification systems.
  • Identify the major symptoms of psychological disorders covered in the class.
  • Differentiate major psychological disorders covered in class from one another.
  • Identify etiological pathways that have been supported by research for major psychological disorders covered in class.
  • Identify empirically supported treatments for each of the major psychological disorders covered in class.
  • Recognize how sociocultural factors impact psychopathology and its treatment.
  • Evaluate information related to abnormal psychology critically to come to research-backed conclusions.
  • Understand issues related to stigmatization of psychological disorders and work to reduce your own levels of stigmatization of psychological disorders.