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Course level: Graduate

This course will introduce students to the major categories of psychopathology as presented in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Mental disorders and their etiologies will be conceptualized from different perspectives, including cultural, biological, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, existential and systemic. Ethical issues related to research and practice in the field will be addressed. Students will be challenged to consider various definitions of normality/abnormality, the process of rendering a diagnosis, and the symptoms, causes and interventions for commonly occurring mental disorders.


What you'll learn

Course skills and outcomes

History and Diagnosis of Psychopathology

  • Describe the influence of culture on the expression of psychopathology.
  • Explain the basic structure of the DSM to describe psychopathology.
  • Examine the leading models of psychopathology including the diathesis-stress model and the biopsychosocial model.
  • Track the historical, social, and cultural influences on the perception and treatment of individuals with mental illness.
  • Explain the need for an integrated viewpoint in psychopathology.
  • Evaluate correlation and causality.
  • Analyze research designs used in psychological studies.

Mood Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Research-Based Interventions and Assessment

  • Evaluate the continuum of depression from what is considered normal depression to major depressive disorder.
  • Differentiate between major depressive disorders, bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, dysthymic disorder, and cyclothymic disorder.
  • Examine the relationship between mood disorders and suicide.
  • Compare research associated with the treatment of major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of the MMPI-2 or MMPI-2-RF as a tool for researching mood disorders.
  • Describe the value of structured interviews for research and diagnosis.
  • Evaluate assessment tools used in diagnosis of mood disorders.
  • Implement the process of a formal diagnosis.

Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Conduct Disorder, and Autism: Symptoms, Causes, and Research-Based Interventions

  • Differentiate between panic, anxiety and additional chronic conditions.
  • Analyze the relationship between stress, psychiatric disorders, and cardiovascular disorders.
  • Discuss the concept of stress as it relates to diathesis-stress, biopsychosocial, and mind-body interaction models.
  • Identify variables used to predict the likelihood of developing a phobia.
  • Differentiate between anxiety disorders in terms of severity and onset.
  • Discuss childhood disorders and the features of the disorders that differentiate them from adult disorders.

Eating Disorders and Obesity, Sexual Variants and Abuse, and Neurocognitive Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Research-Based Interventions

  • Examine the risk and causal factors of eating disorders.
  • Identify the underlying causal factors of the Paraphilias.
  • Discuss the clinical aspects of eating disorders and obesity.
  • Analyze brain impairments in adults.

Personality Disorders and Substance-Related Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Research-Based Interventions

  • Describe the challenges associated with Examine the antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder for commonalities and potential issues regarding violence.
  • Describe the biopsychosocial as it relates to the development of substance abuse disorders.
  • Describe the effectiveness of treatment in substance abuse as evidenced in research studies.
  • Explain the reasons pathological gambling has been re-classified as an addictive behavior in the most current diagnostic manual.

Schizophrenia and Dissociative Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and R

  • Describe schizophrenia and dissociative disorders and their symptoms and subtypes, as applicable, as stated in the most current diagnostic manual.
  • Evaluate the current research on schizophrenia with emphasis on the genetic, developmental, biological, and environmental variables that may contribute to the onset or course of the disorder.
  • Examine the relationship between trauma and dissociation and how each relates to dissociative disorders.
  • Differentiate dissociative identity disorder from schizophrenia.


Why take courses at University of Phoenix

Accreditation that matters

We’ve been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( for more than 40 years.

Real-world instructors

Learn from instructors who bring an average of 25 years of working experience to the classroom.

Affordable and potentially reimbursable

Our tuition and fees are competitive and fixed. Also, check to see if your employer will cover you for this course.

Next Steps

Start a conversation about your future with an enrollment representative today.

Start a conversation about your future with an enrollment representative today.

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Transfer Credits

Credit Transfer

Credit Transfer

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