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

The overall aim of this course is to introduce you to the study of abnormal human behaviors. On your successful completion of this course, you may have achieved more than these outcomes, but you will at least be able to:

  • 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

PSYC 2161 is organized into five instructional units, as follows:

  • 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:

Additional requirements

Access to the Internet is required. Students will be expected to access TRU Library's online article databases.

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 due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50% on the final mandatory examination and 50% overall. It is strongly recommended that students complete all assignments in order to achieve the learning objectives of the course.

Your final grade for the course is determined on the following basis:

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

Open Learning Faculty Member

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

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