Modern Models• Biological• Psychological• Sociocultural• Diathesis-Stress
Biological• Emphasises role of: i) nervous system in mental disorders ii) brain malfunction iii) neurotransmitter imbalance iv) genetic factors• Many mental disorders show a high degree of concordance amongst close relatives.• Techniques for observing brain functions have improved (MRI, PET)
Psychological• Often, disorders occur without any apparent underlying biological cause.• Psychological model emphasises the role of basic psychological processes, cognitive factors, and unconscious forces and conflicts within the individual
Sociocultural• Emphasis on the role of social variables (external factors) as potential causes of mental disorders.• E.g. poverty, unemployment, education, prejudice.
How do you think living in this environment would influence your psychological health?
Diathesis-Stress Model• Suggests disorders result from the joint effects of: i) a predisposition for a given disorder, termed a diathesis ii) stressors in an individual’s environment that tend to activate or stimulate the predisposition or vulnerability• Other words – for various reasons, individuals show varying degrees of vulnerability to specific disorders and whether (and to what extent) it surfaces depends on the environment.• E.g. PTSD
Assessment and Diagnosis• Assessment – When the psychologist gather information on a new patient (kind of problems, current conditions, responses to various psychological tests).• Diagnosis – identification of the person’s problem(s).• Psychologists and other mental health professionals have an agreed-upon system for describing and classifying mental disorders.• Most widely used – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – IV (DSM-IV)
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – IV (DSM-IV)• Published by the American Psychiatric Association (1994).• Designed to help all mental health practitioners correctly diagnose specific disorders.• Describes about 250 disorders that are divided along five different categories, called axes.• Psychologist/Psychiatrist then assesses the person on each of these axes
Axis Type of Info Brief DescriptionAxis I Clinical Disorders and Other Includes factors that are not Conditions That May Be a disorders, but may affect Focus of Clinical Attention functioning. i.e. social problemsAxis II Personality Disorders, Mental Rigid, enduring, maladaptive Retardation personality patternsAxis III General Medical Conditions Includes physical disorders that affect one’s psychological adjustment.Axis IV Psychosocial and Info about problems in the person’s Environmental Problems life that might affect adjustment (ie. Loss of loved one, unemployment or poverty).Axis V Global Assessment of Overall judgment of current Functioning functioning, literally a rating on a scale of 0-100.
Prevalence in Australia• The National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing by ABS (2007)• Sample of 8,841 respondents aged between 16 and 85.• Women were more likely than men to have experienced symptoms of a mental disorder (22% of women compared to 18% of men) and young women reported the highest rates (30% for those women aged 16 to 24).• Young people were much more likely to report a mental disorder in the previous twelve-months (26%) and there was a steady reduction in this rate with increasing age.