Evaluate psychological research (that is, theories and/or studies) relevant to the study of abnormal behavior.

Biopsychosocial model explanation

The biopsychosocial model is a general model or approach that conceives that biology, psychology and social factors all play a significant role in human functioning (in the context of diseases of illness). It is understood however that health is best explained in terms of a combination of biology, psychology and social factors, rather than just merely in biological terms.
  • The biological component of the biopsychosocial model seeks to understand how the cause of the illness stems from the functioning of the individual's body.
  • The psychological component of the biopsychosocial model looks for potential psychological causes for a health problem such lack of self-control, emotional turmoil, and negative thinking.
  • The social part of the biopsychosocial model investigates how different social factors such as socioeconomic status, culture, poverty, technology, and religion can influence health.
  • The biopsychosocial model implies that treatment of disease processes, for example type two diabetes and cancer, requires that the health care team address biological, psychological and social influences upon a patient's functioning.
  • In a philosophical sense, the biopsychosocial model states that the workings of the body can affect the mind, and the workings of the mind can affect the body. This means both a direct interaction between mind and body as well as indirect effects through intermediate factors.
  • Psychosocial factors can cause a biological effect by predisposing the patient to risk factors.
    • o An example is that depression by itself may not cause liver problems, but a depressed person may be more likely to have alcohol problems, and therefore liver damage.

Evaluation of the biopsychosocial model

Weaknesses
  • Some critics point out this question of distinction and of determination of the roles of illness and disease. Epstein and colleagues describe six conflicting interpretations of what the model might be, and proposes that "...habits of mind may be the missing link between a biopsychosocial intent and clinical reality."
    • o This may be exploited by medical insurance companies or government welfare departments eager to limit or deny access to medical and social care.

  • Psychiatrist Hamid Tavakoli argues that the BPS model should be avoided because it unintentionally promotes an artificial distinction between biology and psychology, and merely causes confusion in psychiatric assessments and training programs, and that ultimately it has not helped the cause of trying to destigmatize mental health.
  • From an epistemological (theory of knowledge) stand there can be no model of mental disorder without first establishing a theory of the mind.
  • Problems with testability: difficult to test empirically (with experiments)
  • Unclear how exactly the factors interact

Strengths
  • A BPS model focuses attention on the diversity of client needs, reinforcing the importance of client-centered clinical practices.
  • A BPS model includes traditional addictions models as therapeutic options. It provides a broad and flexible framework for conceptualizing the nature of the problem and for selecting from a wide range of potentially effective responses to it.
  • The BPS model is amenable to empirical scrutiny and supports a broad range of empirically tested "best practices".
  • Commonsensical, palpable. Has provided a framework for treatment and future research.
  • Less reductionist. Emphasize an interaction of several factors.

Diathesis-stress model explanation

The diathesis-stress model is a way of explaining how people end up suffering from mental disorders by assuming that mental disorders come from the interaction of two factors. These factors includes a person’s genetics (nature) and their life experience (nurture). The premise underlying the “diathesis-stress” model is that a person is more likely to suffer an illness if he or she has a particular diathesis (i.e., vulnerability or susceptibility) and is under a high level of stress. Diathesis factors that have been studied include family history of substance abuse or mental illness; individual psychological characteristics such as hostility or impulsivity; biological characteristics (e.g., cardiovascular reactivity, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal responsivity); and environmental characteristics such as childhood maltreatment or low socioeconomic status. Diathesis factors are generally assumed to be relatively stable but not necessarily permanent

Stress vulnerability model (new version of diathesis-stress model)

The new version of the diathesis-stress model states that the onset and symptoms of mental disorders is influenced by three interacting factors
1. Vulnerability factors: Biological factors, such as genes, that may predispose an individual to a disorder
2. Environmental factors: Stressors and events in life that may influence the symptoms and onset of the disorder
3. Protective factors: Factors that may protect the individual against development of a disorder (e.g. social support, medication)

Evaluation of the stress-vulnerability model

Weakness:
  • model is very fuzzy
  • unclear

Strengths:
  • categorizes reasons for mental disorder into three categories/factors (vulnerability, environmental, protective)
  • explain how the three factors play roles in causing a mental disorder