PSYC 2161

Abnormal Psychology

3.0 Credits


PSYC 2161 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 the variety of professionals who might be involved in the assessment process and the methods they use. The course covers psychological, biological, and sociocultural approaches to understanding human behaviour. The course describes a wide variety of behavioural disorders, presents and interprets case studies, and outlines recommended treatments.

Delivery Methods

Print, self-paced or Web, self-paced


None. PSYC 1111 and PSYC 1211 or PSYC 106 and 107 are recommended.


Students with credit for PSYC 241, 300, or SFU PSYC 340 may not take this course for further credit.


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

  • Define abnormal behaviour and explain the rationale behind it.
  • 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 Outline

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

Course Duration

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

Students will receive all course materials in their course package, including the following custom textbook reprinted by the publisher:

Butcher, J. N. Mineka, S. Hooley, J. M. Abnormal Psychology + MyPsycLab. 16th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2014.
Type: Textbook, ISBN: 978-1-323-62557-6

NOTE: all content in the custom reprinted textbook is the same as that included in the original text – ISBN: 0-205-94428-0/ 978-0-205-94428-6.

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.

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is by phone if you are taking the print version of the course and through the "mail" tool in the Learning Environment if you are taking the web version. You will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.


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* 50%

* Mandatory