Psychology of Abnormal Behavior
I. Course Prefix/Number: PSY 203
Course Name: Psychology of Abnormal Behavior
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
IV. Learning Objectives
- To provide the student with the principles, concepts and methods for understanding maladaptive behavior.
- To review how behavioral and social research is done and how research data are used in the definition, assessment, categorization and treatment of abnormal behavior.
- To understand and explain the biological, psychosocial, and sociocultural origins of abnormal behavior.
- To examine strategies to prevent and to treat psychological disorders.
- To appreciate the etiology, individual vulnerabilities, appropriate research techniques, and challenges inherent in future studies of abnormal behavior.
- To become familiar with current recognized categorizations of psychological disorder.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
- Research Methodology (general introduction and elaboration throughout balance of topics F through P below)
- Examples and Definitions of Abnormal Behavior
- Causes of Abnormal Behavior: From Paradigms to Systems and Research Techniques
- Research, Treatment and Prevention of Psychological Disorders
- Classification and Assessment
- Mood Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Acute and Posttraumatic Stress Disorders, Dissociative Disorders, and Somatoform Disorders
- Stress and Physical Health
- Personality Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Substance Use Disorders
- Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
- Schizophrenic Disorders
- Dementia, Delirium, and Amnesic Disorders
- Mental Retardation and Pervasive Developmental Disorders
- Psychological Disorders of Childhood
- Adjustment Disorders and Difficult Life Events: Life Cycle Transitions
- Mental Health and the Law
VII. Methods of Instruction
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
IX. Instructional Materials
Representative texts include:
Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan (2011). Abnormal Psychology Media and Research Update with MindMap CD. (5th ed.). Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill.
Parker, Martin M., Charles A. Lyons, and Barclay Martin (2012). Custom Understanding Abnormal Psychology. Redding, CA: BVT Publishing.
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
XI. Other Course Information
- Policy on make-up exams, late assignments, etc.
- Important dates
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.