This classic book provides readers with a comprehensive and up-to-date real-world overview of the abnormal psychology field, by building on the strengths of existing theoretical systems and clinical methods. It focuses on maladaptive behavior as a product of the interaction between personal vulnerabilities and resiliencies. Numerous brief cases include first-person accounts that illustrate the experience of mental illness, as well as the nature and challenges of clinical practice and clinically-relevant research. For individuals interested in the fields of abnormal psychology, abnormal behavior, and psychopathology.
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Authors who revise textbooks face many decisions: What to add or change? What to retain? What to delete or cut back? We considered these questions in four domains: conceptual framework, clinical material, research, and pedagogy. Each is very important for students in Abnormal Psychology courses. A coherent conceptual approach provides the organizing principles needed to understand complex subject matter. Clinical case material is crucial because, after all, real people with real problems are what the field is all about. Research is central to the study of maladaptive behavior because new evidence has a great influence over how we understand people with problems. Pedagogy is critical for presenting material in a clear, engaging way that will hold students' interest.
Framework of the Eleventh Edition
We continue to believe in an interactional view of abnormal behavior, and recent research has provided additional support for this view. People have problems because of interactions involving their own personal attributes and the situations and challenges they confront in life. We emphasize the personal contributors because of the growing evidence that what we bring to life situations (our vulnerabilities) and our ability to bounce back from reverses and roadblocks (our resiliency) have a lot to do with disorders, treatments, and clinical outcomes. However, clinical work involves the analysis of interactions beyond those between the person and the situation. It is also necessary to consider interactions among psychological, biological, and cultural processes. Researchers and clinicians are increasingly focusing on these interactions, because of mushrooming evidence concerning their importance for several conditions—particularly anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia. For too long, it had been believed by many that biology drives almost everything, and that biological defects always underlie maladaptive behavior. While we emphasize the role of biological determinants wherever they are pertinent (and they are proving to be pertinent to more and more disorders), we also emphasize the growing evidence that the environment can have major impacts on biological processes (for example, how the brain functions). Finally, there is also growing evidence that treatment often requires a combination of treatment elements (for example, medication and psychotherapy) for optimal outcomes.
The more we teach Abnormal Psychology classes, the more we appreciate the value of case material to students. Accounts of real people—with their vulnerabilities, resiliencies, and situational challenges—bring abnormal psychology alive. The saying, "A good picture (or example) is worth a thousand words" is often quite correct. For this reason, we have increased the number of cases that we use to illustrate abnormal behavior, and we have used cases in several different ways. Some cases, such as the three extensive therapy cases that open Chapter 3, illustrate clinical principles and raise conceptual issues to which we refer throughout the chapter. We also include Case Study and First Person boxes that help students gain empathy for the personal experiences of maladaptation and deviancy. Finally, the many brief case examples throughout the text also aid students in understanding and remembering key characteristics of the disorders discussed. In many instances we have used relevant examples from recent events reported in the media to enhance student interest and to emphasize the reality of the problems discussed.
Research lets us know when clinical roads previously taken lead nowhere, and when there are new roads that should be explored further. With each edition of this book, we have been impressed by the knowledge explosions that continue to occur in the field of abnormal psychology. For example, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has emerged suddenly as a potentially valuable addition to treatment approaches for mood disorders and schizophrenia. Neurogenetic studies, if they continue to be as promising as they have been in recent years, may lay the groundwork for improved treatment approaches. To say the least, research on abnormal behavior is flourishing, and as a result, the number of references to recent research in this edition is far greater than in any previous edition.
We continue to believe that a textbook must be accessible and engaging if students are to benefit from it. Several pedagogical features that proved popular in previous editions have been retained, including Case Study and First Person boxes. One of the more popular features of previous editions is the Vulnerability and Resilience boxes that illustrate the roles of certain negative and positive personal attributes; in this edition we have increased the number of these boxes. A series of Research Close-Up boxes allows us to explore in depth important research evidence.
In addition to these pedagogical features, we have added several new features in this edition. The book begins with a Prelude that contains an exchange of e-mails between a brother and sister who are in college, and who have concerns about their own adjustment and the psychological problems of their father. The e-mail correspondence will immediately raise questions in the student's mind about how families and individuals confront psychological difficulties. Each chapter begins with What This Chapter Is About, a concise overview of the material that will be covered. At the conclusion of each chapter, in Our Take-Away Message, we present some of our personal views concerning the material that has been covered. Based on our classroom experiences, we know that students are interested in what the instructor thinks about topics discussed in class. We hope that our end-of-chapter thoughts will encourage students to develop and express their own ideas about issues in abnormal psychology. Finally, at the end of most chapters we recommend A Good Book that students can read to gain empathy for and insights into adaptive and maladaptive behavior. All these books are widely available in paperback editions or through libraries, and offer engrossing reading that will enrich the student's understanding of the topics covered in the text.
Other New Material in the Eleventh Edition
A necessity in revising a book is to avoid the temptation to add but not delete. To succumb to this temptation is dangerous because it can lead to a textbook that balloons so much the student becomes overwhelmed. We have worked hard to avoid textbook indigestion, and we think that we have succeeded. By judicious pruning, we have been able to keep the book up to date with regard to research and clinical practice, and to give added depth to the knowledge of the students who will read it.
We have made one structural change in this edition. The chapter on therapeutic approaches (formerly Chapter 16) has been revised and moved up to become Chapter 3. This made sense to us because the various therapies are closely linked with the theoretical perspectives presented in Chapter 2.
The following is a sampling of new material throughout this edition.
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