PSYC 2161: Abnormal Psychology

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of human behavioural disorders. Topics include behaviours ranging from functional to dysfunctional, the principles of psychological assessment, and professionals who might be involved in the assessment process and the methods they use. Psychological, biological, and sociocultural approaches to understanding human behaviour are reviewed and a wide variety of behavioural disorders are described. Case studies are presented and interpreted, and recommended treatments are discussed.

Learning outcomes

  • Define abnormal behaviour and explain its rationale.
  • Discuss procedures used to evaluate and diagnose abnormal behaviour.
  • Compare, contrast, and integrate biological, psychological, and sociocultural explanations of abnormal behaviour.
  • Explain the nature of stress and people’s reactions to it.
  • Discuss the role of psychological and behavioural factors in the causation of physical problems.
  • Explain the rationale behind psychological interventions for physical conditions such as migraines.
  • Describe symptoms of principal mental disorders.
  • Describe the main factors thought to be involved in the causation of the mental disorders discussed in the text.
  • Identify treatments for mental disorders and compare their efficacy in treating such disorders.
  • Discuss efforts to prevent psychopathology, giving examples of prevention programs.
  • Apply, to selected case examples, what you have learned about the conceptualization, causation, and treatment of mental disorders.

Course topics

  • Unit 1: The Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology
  • Unit 2: Anxiety, Mood, Somatoform, and Dissociative Disorders
  • Unit 3: Disorders of Personality, Eating, and Addiction
  • Unit 4: Other Disorders and Psychological Treatment
  • Unit 5: Clinical Psychology in the Real World

Required text and materials

Students will need to source the following E-textbook from the link below:

  1. Hooley, J. M., Butcher, J. N., Nock, M. K., & Mineka, S. (2017). Abnormal psychology (17th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
    ISBN: 9780133852059. Type: E-Textbook:

Optional materials

You will be consulting various websites as you work through the course. Details of these online resources are provided in the relevant course units.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, students are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50% on the final mandatory examination and 50% overall.

Assignment 1 12.5%
Assignment 2 12.5%
Assignment 3 12.5%
Assignment 4 12.5%
Final Exam (mandatory) 50%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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