Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

PSYC 450: Abnormal Psychology

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  Course Description

Major categories of behavior disorders are considered in terms of theory, etiology, symptoms and treatment. Fundamental questions related to diagnosis, definitions of disorders and reaction of society are discussed.

Prerequisite: PSYC/SOCI 175, nine hours of psychology courses, and junior standing

Proctored Exams: Final


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  •  Butcher, J. N., Hooley, J. M., Mineka, S., & Nock, M. K. (2017). Abnormal Psychology (17th ed.). Pearson.  eText

Bookstore Information

Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.

  Course Overview

In this course, students will learn about psychopathology through examination of several Axis I disorders, including panic, anxiety, and stress disorders, mood disorders, suicide, and eating disorders; Axis II Personality Disorders, including deviance, antisocial and psychopathic personality types; substance abuse and other addictive disorders; sexual dysfunctions and variants; schizophrenia, delusional disorders, brain disorders, and other cognitive impairments; and mental retardation and childhood and adolescent disorders. The course finishes with an overview of clinical assessment procedures and psychotherapy interventions that are used to diagnose and subsequently treat these disorders.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. To identify, define and explain physiological and behavioral correlates of abnormal behavior.
  2. To critically examine issues surrounding methods of diagnosing and treating disorders of mind and behavior.
  3. To demonstrate understanding of the historical and philosophical foundations of current methods of diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.
  4. To analyze, synthesize, and evaluate psychological theories, principles, concepts, and interventions as they relate to the ethical understanding and treatment of mental disorders in a changing world.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 240 24%
Dropbox Assignments 360 36%
Midterm 200 20%
Final 200 20%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 30 Wednesday
Dropbox Written Assignment 1 55 Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 30 Wednesday
Dropbox Written Assignment 2 55 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 30 Wednesday
Dropbox Written Assignment 3 55 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 30 Wednesday
Midterm Exam 200 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 30 Wednesday
Dropbox Written Assignment 4 55 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 30 Wednesday
Dropbox Written Assignment 5 55 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 30 Wednesday
Dropbox Written Assignment 6 (APA Style) 85 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 30 Wednesday
Final Exam (proctored) 200 Saturday
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


Discussion postings should be complete by Wednesday of each assigned week. You must provide at least one feedback for a response to another student’s comment. I do not tolerate students copying text out of our book or from any other source for use in their thread responses and weekly papers. I am not referring to an occasional direct quote referenced as such but to copied material submitted as the answer to a discussion question, even if you provide the author's name and publication date. I know what the author states. What I need to know and what provides the information for your grade is text reflecting your understanding of the material (i.e. in your own words). If students present someone else's work as their response, I have nothing to grade their work on, which then leads to a grade of zero.

Dropbox Assignments

Written Dropbox Assignments will each be graded according to the point system presented in the rubric, which can be found in the Content area of the course. The first five written assignments are each worth 55 points. They should be 600-700 words in length and double spaced. The final paper, due in Week 7, is worth 85 points. It should be 1200-1400 words in length and should follow APA format, with appropriate documentation of sources. All papers should be submitted to the appropriate Dropbox folder by midnight on Sunday of the week they are due. The total points that can be earned from all Dropbox Written Assignments are 360. Your grade will be based on the content of your work in response to the assignment along with spelling, grammar, presentation of your ideas and timeliness. Points will be assigned on the basis of percent of completeness of the responses, correct grammar and spelling, and overall presentation.


There will be 2 exams – a midterm and a final. Each will consist of 50 multiple choice questions (all worth 4 points for each correct answer). The maximum points to be earned during each exam are 200. You will take your exams on D2L and submit by the date specified by the instructor. The final exam must be taken in a proctored setting. See the information below about locating a proctor.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.


Chapters 1-4

Discussion 1

Introduce yourself in the "Introductions" topic of our class discussion, our "virtual classroom." Please give us more than your name. Include your profession (or desired profession); hobbies, interest in counseling and psychotherapy, and any other information that can help us get to know you. This task is worth 30 points. Post your response by midnight on Wednesday.

Dropbox Written Assignment 1

What changes have occurred between the 19th and 20th centuries concerning the diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill? Post to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday. Cite the text and other references at the bottom of the last page of your paper. Do this for all papers.


Chapter 5

Also read about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the National Institute of Mental Health. You will find the link in Week 2 in the Content area of the course.

Discussion 2

Describe effective and ineffective coping styles. Also, share with the class how you have and perhaps continue to cope with stressors you presently encounter or have encountered in the past (30 points). Post by midnight Wednesday.

Dropbox Written Assignment 2

What forms of trauma are ever-present in America today? What are successful treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders? Post to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday.

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.

Chapters 6-7

Also read about obsessive compulsive disorder at Internet Mental Health, an online encyclopedia of mental health created by Dr. Phillip W. Long. You will find a link to this resource in the Week 3 of the Content area of the course.

Discussion 3

Describe the difference in symptoms presentation between uni-polar and bipolar mood disorders. How is bipolar disorder misdiagnosed and used inappropriately in our daily conversations? What is the feature one must have to be diagnosed as truly bipolar? This assignment is worth 30 points. Post your response by midnight Wednesday.

Dropbox Written Assignment 3

Specifically differentiate the roles of obsessions and compulsions within obsessive compulsive disorder. Why do both have to be present? Post to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday.


Chapters 8-9

Presently, two leading theories attempt to explain the etiology and mechanisms involved in the evolution of DID: the socio-cognitive model developed by Spanos (1994) and the posttraumatic model by Thomas (2003). Please read the following articles (you can find links to the full text in the course Content area).

Kihlstrom, JD. (2005). Dissociative Disorders. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology.

Piper, A. & H. Merskey. (2004). The Persistence of Folly: Critical Examination of Dissociative Identity Disorder. Part II. The Defence and Decline of Multiple Personality or Dissociative Identity Disorder. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 49 (10), 678-683.

Spanos, N. P. (1994). Multiple identity enactments and multiple personality disorder: A sociocognitive perspective. Psychological Bulletin, 116(1), 143-165.

Thomas, P. M. (2003). Protection, dissociation, and internal roles: Modeling and treating the effects of child abuse. Review of General Psychology, 7(4), 364-380.

Discussion 4

Please respond to following question in your own words:
Is dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personalities, real or a modern-day scam?

Write approximately a full-page (200 - 300 words), well thought out, researched brief. Make sure you present 3 distinct paragraphs:

1. Model A (supportive of DID as a real disorder)
2. Model B (not supportive of DID as a real disorder)
3. Your conclusions based on your research (of these two articles and your book knowledge) and, if applicable, personal experiences and/or observations.

This assignment is worth 30 points in total. Post your assignment by midnight Wednesday.

Midterm Exam

The exam covers Chapters 1-9. You will be taking the midterm exam this week. You will have from Monday until Sunday to take the midterm. BEWARE! If you try to call up the exam and log out, you may not be able to access the test again, or you may have to start a totally different exam. You will have two hours from the time you log in to complete the exam. The midterm exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions (all worth 4 points for each correct answer). Going overtime results in a penalty. The total points to be earned on the midterm exam are 200. This is an open book exam. The exam grades will be posted in your grade book. Please remember that you have to complete your midterm exam by midnight Sunday of this week. After Sunday night, you will not have access to the exam any more.


Chapters 10-11

Also you can find links to the following resources in Week 5 of the Content area of the course.

Klausch, T. (2008). Personality Disorders. Web4Health.

Hare, R. D. (1996). Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder: A Case of Diagnostic Confusion. Psychiatric Times, 13 (2). (You will need to be logged into your CougarTrack account to access this through the Stafford Library database.)

Discussion 5

Marijuana continues to be a popular drug in our culture. Some tout it as “God’s Herb” and argue that it should, therefore, be legalized. Construct an argument pro and con for legalizing Marijuana. Make sure that you include your new knowledge from your text that Marijuana is a hallucinogenic drug (such as its effects, addictive properties, study findings, treatment outcomes). If your text book fails to provide sufficient information, please use your CC Stafford library and/or the internet for additional sources. This assignment is worth 30 points. Post your assignment by midnight Wednesday.

Dropbox Written Assignment 4

Define psychopathy. Describe why it is worse than antisocial personality disorder. Also, differentiate how psychopathy is different from antisocial personality disorder. Post to the dropbox by midnight Sunday.


Chapters 12-13

Drescher, J. (2015).  Out of DSM: Depathologizing homosexuality.  Behavioral Sciences5(4): 565-575.  (In the Content area of the course.)

Discussion 6

In 1973, APA removed the diagnosis of homosexuality from the DSM II, but included a new diagnosis of “sexual orientation disturbance.” SOD was replaced by a diagnosis of “ego dystonic homosexuality” in the DSM III. In 1987, the revised DSM III removed the diagnosis of homosexuality as a pathology. 

In addition to this week’s readings in the textbook, please read and respond to the Drescher article listed above. What research findings shaped the current thinking about homosexuality?

This assignment is worth 30 points and is due by Wednesday midnight.

Dropbox Written Assignment 5

Review the three classic subtypes of schizophrenia in your text.  Then comment on which type might be most responsive to treatment (pharmacoptherapy and/or psychotherapy) and which type is the most resistant to treatment. Please respond to all of the above questions in your paper. Post to the dropbox by midnight Sunday.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.

Chapters 14-15

Discussion 7

Do you believe ADHD is over-diagnosed in America? State your opinion and support it through research findings in the book.  If your text book fails to provide sufficient information, please use your CC Stafford library and/or the Internet as additional sources (e.g. Center of Disease Control, National Institute of Mental Health, etc.). Please, remember that you must use professional sources -- Parenting Magazine, Fact Sheets, Wikipedia, etc. are not acceptable. Please provide references for your sources.  This assignment is worth 30 points in total and is due Wednesday midnight.

Dropbox Written Assignment 6 (APA Style)

Discuss one of the childhood disorders featured in your text. Define the syndrome, remark on how it is diagnosed and what treatment is available to the child that suffers from the disorder. Feel free to use the CC online library or any other college library you may have access to for more sources. Try to avoid personal pages, though. Post to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday.


Chapters 16-17

Also read about the different types of psychotherapy on the National Institute for Mental Health website.  You will find a direct link to the relevant information on their site in Week 8 of the Content area of the course.

Discussion 8

What is your favorite type of psychotherapy? Which suits you as a consumer or as a therapist? Your response should be posted by midnight Wednesday.

Final Exam (proctored)

You will be taking the exam this week on Chapters 10-17. This exam is proctored! The final exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions. The total points to be earned on the Final Exam are 200. The exam grades will be posted in the grade book in class. Please remember to complete your Final Exam by the end of the listed period.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, communicate your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, the following resources are available to ensure an opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that values mutual respect.

  • For students with disabilities/conditions who are experiencing barriers to learning or assessment, contact the Student Accessibility Resources office at (573) 875-7626 or sar@ccis.edu to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in the course, including accommodations.
  • For students who are experiencing conflict which is impacting their educational environment, contact the Office of Student Conduct at studentconduct@ccis.edu or (573) 875-7877.
  • For students who have concerns related to discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, please contact the Title IX Office at titleixcoordinator@ccis.edu. More information can be found at http://www.ccis.edu/policies/notice-of-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity.aspx

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Other late assignments will be accepted. However, there will be a penalty of 5 points per day for a paper that is submitted late.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.