Need Assistance?

Enter your information below and a personal assistant from Chancellors will contact you right back.

Abnormal Psychology

Study Guide Kit

Study Guide Specifications

Type of
Cost of
ECE 3 hours $325

ECE exams are administered at colleges and universities

What about the title of this course: "Abnormal" Psychology? Any dictionary will point out that abnormal simply means different from the norm, or average. Is that really an appropriate way to refer to what we are studying here? Of course not. The title Abnormal Psychology has more to do with tradition and habit within the field of psychology than logic. Every person differs from the "norms" of behavior in many ways, sometimes in small aspects of style or taste, other times in bigger rebellions or eccentricities. Studying all these aspects of behavior would be practically impossible.

On the other hand, some deviations from the norm are unique in that they are maladaptive, that is, they cause an individual substantial pain, disrupt one's ability to get through a reasonable daily routine, or seriously harm important relationships with others. These three factors are considered essential in separating "simply unusual" behavior from true mental illness. The precise kinds of pain or disruption of routines and relationships will comprise the specific diagnoses we will study. For example, a compulsive hand-washing behavior might not prevent a person from getting through a normal day, but the dried and cracking skin surfaces on the hands that result certainly qualify for the pain category. A psychopathic serial killer might be in no pain whatsoever and could even get through an average daily routine, yet relationships of all sorts would be completely distorted. These are examples of the kinds of abnormal behavior we will study.

The psychiatric community tends to use the term "mental disorders" in referring to cases of abnormal psychology, though they too recognize the language problems involved. The word mental means "of the mind," suggesting a separateness between mind and body that is being rejected more and more by scientists and the general public alike. What is a "mind," anyway, besides being a terrible thing to waste? Is it the same as the brain? The brain is an inseparable part of the body, with recent research suggesting its consciousness may extend throughout all bodily cells in many ways. Our "mental" disorders are in no way confined to the insides of our skulls. Perhaps the mind refers to the personality? Soul or spirit? Awareness? Identity? Behavior? All of these combined? Few of us are certain. Add to these language troubles such common slang terms as "crazy" (or wacko, nuts, bananas, loony, sick, weird, psycho, and so on), which add little clarity to the debate, and you can see why even giving a title to this field of study becomes a complicated matter. So, for lack of a better alternative, we move ahead with our investigation of problems in human behavior under the label of "abnormal psychology."

This overview of the topic is designed to prepare you to pass the Excelsior College examination titled "Abnormal Psychology." The study guide is organized into seven units. As you read the text, pay particular attention to the terms in bold print, as test-out exams tend to be vocabulary-intensive. Short-answer and multiple-choice practice questions are at the end of each unit. In addition, a final comprehensive practice exam appears at the end of the book. This practice examination is formatted like the actual test. Taking the practice exam will reinforce key concepts from the study guide, identify areas for further review, provide a gauge for managing testing time appropriately, and verify that the material has been mastered.

The study guide is not designed to cover every detail of the field, or provide everything you will ever need to know about abnormal psychology. In fact, many worthwhile and interesting sub-topics are purposely avoided because covering them here will not significantly improve your chances of passing the Excelsior College test or CLEP exam. The aim of this book is to teach you briefly and effectively what you need to know to establish credit for upper-level knowledge of Abnormal Psychology.

Order this study guide online.