Researchers in the field of psychopathology
have to discover the etiology of each disorder and that helps with creating an
effective treatment or even preventing the development of disorders. But I
think, that nowadays there are more questions that answers about the causes of
In all of the topics discussed during the
class we could observe that there a lot of factors that could cause mental
health problems, such as genes, biochemistry, social skills, family background,
interpersonal interactions, cognitive processes and some others. All of these factors
are important, and each of them could be a part of the puzzle called psychopathology.
Focus of the behavioural approach is about the
experience that people have in their life teaches them different behaviours.
People could learn through associations, consequences of their own and others
behaviour. Even if much of our behaviour is adaptive and helps us to cope with
changing world, abnormal or undesirable behaviour could be learned too. Children
might learn to break the society rules if they see that a parent does it too.
Or a person, who has been attacked by a dog might develop a fear to all dogs
and that my lead to a development of a phobia.
According to the cognitive approach, the root
of psychopathology is defective or abnormal thought process and this leads to
abnormal behaviour. It could be negative thoughts about oneself, negative expectations
of the future, and unrealistic perception of the world. As we could observe many mental disorders are
associated with thinking problems. For example schizophrenics, people who
suffer from depression or ADHD have difficulties with concentration. Amnesia
could develop in people with psychological trauma as a response to it. Overall
I do not think there any mental disorders, which do not have cognitive
or biological approach assumes that psychopathology could be cause by
abnormalities of the brain. Environmental problems, birth complication and
illness of the mother during pregnancy could be the reasons of it.
Psychopathologies could be passed down from a person’s parents too. Indeed,
genes play a huge role in development of mental disorders. They determine a lot
of functions in our body; hormones and various neurotransmitter levels. Schizophrenia
received the most attention in terms of this approach. Importance of
neurotransmitters was discovered during researches. As we
know from studies an excessive amount of dopamine cause some of the symptoms of
schizophrenia. Lots of medications were created in order to reduce the amount
of dopamine. However, these drugs help not all people who have schizophrenia.
We also know that schizophrenia could be passed from generation to generation.
In my opinion this approach is one of the most important in a process of
gaining the etiology of psychopathologies.
is well known that family background could be a risk factor for developing a
psychopathology. For example dysfunctional family structure, dysfunctional
family functioning, defective family relationship and communication patterns have an impact on mental health. In another words, it can be said that
when the pathological life of the family creates problems in balance of the family environment
and lead to pathology. The family model of psychopathology emphasizes the
influence of the family on individual behaviour.
The humanistic model stresses that humans are basically good
and have huge potential for personal growth. People have a need for
self-actualization. However, people could face with the difficulties on their
road. Problems arise if something prevents people from satisfying their basic
needs or they have to live up to the expectations of others. When this happens,
people lose sight of their own goals and develop misrepresented
A sociocultural model of
abnormality makes an emphasis on the social and cultural factors that determine
what is appropriate behaviour or abnormal. Every culture has certain standards
for acceptable behaviour, or socially acceptable norms. If someone violates
these norms they often defined as abnormal. A person’s thinking or behaviour
can be classified as abnormal if it violates the (unwritten) rules about what
acceptable in a particular social group. Their behaviour may make others feel
threatened or uncomfortable. We could observe during the history how some
particular abnormal behaviour was labelled differently in different cultures.
For example hearing voices was perceived as an evidence of demonic possessions
Social and cultural factors
can influence what kind of stresses people experience, disorders they are
likely to develop, and the treatment they are likely to receive. At the same
time there is no universal agreement over social norms. Social norms are
connected to the culture and differ significantly from one generation to the
next and between different ethnic, regional and socio-economic groups. For
example in a lot of cultures homosexuality is still considered as abnormality
and is not acceptable, but according to the WHO homosexuality is not considered
as a mental disorder anymore. I think, it is really important to understand the
cross-cultural perspectives on abnormality because it might help with the
interpretation of data.