Author Pamilla Ramsden presents a thorough understanding of abnormal psychology for undergraduate students with a focus on the integration of psychology, biology and health. Understanding Abnormal Psychology: Clinical and Biological Perspectives goes beyond a descriptive overview of clinical disorders to provide a critical appreciation of the multifaceted aspects of mental illness. Each disorder is clearly and succinctly explained with the support of case studies. These examples are then used to introduce students to the debates surrounding current research, the biology of abnormal disorders and standards of treatment. The bridge between the biological elements of brain functioning and the psychological mechanisms that are responsible for coping and adjustment is thoroughly explored. This valuable consideration of the range of elements involved in the diagnosis and treatment of clinical disorders gives students a broad and critical understanding of this complex and fascinating field.

Models of Abnormal Behaviour

Models of abnormal behaviour

Learning aims

At the end of this chapter you should:

  • Understand the different models
  • Know why models are used to conceptualize abnormal behaviour
  • Understand how a model influences assessment and treatment
  • Know how models influence our understanding of abnormal behaviour.


Case Study

Gemma is a 19-year-old who had initially gone to her family GP with her mother because of ill health. Her mother reported to the GP that she felt that Gemma was unwell because she had recently put on a lot of weight. Gemma had dropped out of university and was now nearly 22 stone at 5′3″. Her doctor initially decided that Gemma's ill health was a direct cause of being obese. She was significantly overweight and was suffering from high blood ...

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