PSY250 - Abnormal Psychology

Here are some practice questions similar to those on your exams.  To see the correct answer, scroll over the space after "answer:" (to highlight the letter).  Good luck!

Chapter 1:  Abnormal Psychology:  Historical and Modern Perspectives

1.   One of the major contributions Hippocrates made to psychology was
 A) emphasizing the psychological causes of abnormal behavior.
 B) instituting reforms in the early mental hospitals.
 C) theorizing that mental illness was a form of punishments from the gods.
 D) separating medicine from religion and magic.
answer:  d

2   The mentally ill were treated more humanely when
 A) abnormal behavior began to be seen as a medical  problem.
 B) asylums were developed
 C) people such as Pinel introduced moral treatment.
 D) all of the above
answer:  c

3.   General paresis is:
 A) a deterioration of mental and physical health caused by syphilis
 B) the early term for schizophrenia
 C) an early treatment for mental illness involving drawing blood
 D) hysterical paralysis which has no anatomical explanation
answer:  a

4.  The primary symptom of hysteria is:
 A) becoming overly distressed in response to little things.
 B)  losing sensation or movement in a part of the body.
 C)  being very susceptible to hypnosis.
 D)  experiencing hallucinations and delusions.
answer:  b

5.  If you want to know what caused a particular disorder, you would ask about its
A)  epidemiology
B)  etiology
C)  prognosis
D)  genotype

answer:  b

6.  Which of the following is most concerned with constraints of reality constraints?
 A) id.
 B) ego.
 C) superego.
 D) all of the above
answer:  b


7.  Which of the following is an example of counterconditioning?

A) A boy is spanked when he misbehaves.

B) An alcoholic takes a drug to make him nauseous when he consumes alcohol.

C) An experimenter makes a loud noise while presenting a baby with a white rat.

D) A student gets chocolate cupcakes for raising her hand.


answer:  b

8.  Thorndike's law of effect includes all of the following ideas EXCEPT
 A) behavior is a function of its consequences.
 B) behavior will decrease if it is punished.
 C) behavior observed in an authority figure will be imitated.
 D) behavior will increase if it is rewarded.
answer:  c

9.  Cognitive challenging primarily focuses on
 A) modifying irrational behavior.
 B) restructuring maladaptive emotions.
 C) changing thinking processes.
 D) increasing assertiveness.
answer:  c

Chapter 2:  Research Methods in Abnormal Behavior

1.  A scientific finding is called reliable if it
 A) can be observed outside the laboratory.
 B) is supported by theory.
 C) is replicable
 D) can be tested.
answer:  c

2.  Case studies are of little value in
 A) comparing the effectiveness of treatments.
 B) describing unusual symptoms
 C) suggesting possibilities for further study
 D) proving exceptions to theories.
answer:  a

3.  Prevalence refers to
 A) the likelihood that a disorder will be found in another culture.
 B) the proportion of a population that has a disorder now.
 C) the number of people who develop a disorder in a given time period.
 D) the likelihood that a person will have a disorder given that they have a particular characteristic.
answer:  b

4.  Which of the following statements could be made based on data from a correlational study?
 A) Studying leads to good grades.
 B) Good grades make people want to study more.
 C) People who study more tend to have better grades.
 D) People who are smart study more and get better grades.
answer:  c

5.  In an experimental design, the control group is the group that
 A) has the disorder in question.
 B) does not have the disorder in question.
 C) receives the experimental treatment.
 D) does not receive the experimental treatment.
answer:  d

Chapter 3:  Assessment and Diagnosis

1. DSM-5 is published by the
 A) American Psychological Association.
 B) American Psychiatric Association.
 C) Congress of Mental Science.
 D) World Health Organization.
answer:  b

2. The fifth edition of the DSM includes more of a focus on dimensional ratings than did previous editions.  This is especially seen in the alternative model it provides for _______________.
 A) medical problems
 B) childhood disorders
 C) personality disorders
 D) cultural problems
answer: c

3.  Comorbidity refers to
 A) diagnoses that are often fatal
 B) having more than one diagnosis at a time
 C) psychosocial stressors
 D) having at least one psychological and at least one medical problem
answer: b

4.  Which of the following is least suited to a dimensional approach to classification?
 A) height
 B) handedness
 C) depression
 D) shyness
answer:  b

5.  A valid classification system is one that
 A) uses clear and agreed-upon criteria.
 B) shows high levels of agreement between raters.
 C) leads to accurate predictions and statements.
 D) has a clear purpose.
answer:  c


Chapter 4:  Anxiety Disorders

1.  You go to a therapist for an evaluation, and are diagnosed as having both OCD and depression.  This is an example of:
  a.  your therapist having made a mistake, since you cannot be diagnosed with two disorders at the same time.
  b.  the fact that it is very difficult to distinguish between anxiety and depression.
  c.  comorbidity
  d.  the superiority of a multiaxial system.

answer:  c

2.  A psychoanalyst would be most interested in the _______ of a phobia.
  a.  consequence
  b.  content
  c.  function
  d.  initial appearance

answer:  b

3.  Jamie is afraid of being in crowds, because it would be difficult to get out quickly if she needed to.  Given only this information, the most appropriate diagnosis is:
  a.  agoraphobia
  b.  crowd phobia
  c.  generalized anxiety disorder
  d.  social phobia

answer:  a

4.  A SUDS scale would most likely be used by which of the following types of therapists?
  a.  behavioral
  b.  cognitive
  c.  psychoanalytic
  d.  psychiatric

answer:  a

5.  The most common reason for school refusal in children is:
  a.  fear of being bullied
  b.  fear of being away from parents
  c.  fear of school
  d.  fear of the unknown

answer: b

Chapter 14:  Health Psychology

1.  Nancy asks her nurse to tell her every step he is about to take as he gives her a shot.  She is using a ______ style of coping with stress.
  a.   blunting
  b.  enacting
  c.  monitoring
  d.  perceiving

answer:  c

2.  Considerable research has examined the relationship between stress and health.  However, much of this research relies of self-report measures that lead to a limitation in that:
  a.  Most stressor measures include only aversive stressors, not positive ones.
  b.  Self-reports of illness may not reflect actual illness or disease.
  c.  Coping behaviors can minimize stress reactions.
  d.  Social prejudice discourages reporting of stress.

answer:  b

3.  Which of the following is not characteristic of the Type A personality?
  a.  ambitious
  b.  cynical
  c.  impatient
  d.  unhappy

answer:  d

4.  If there was a perfect correlation between stress and health, it would become irrelevant to:
  a.  look for ways to reduce stress.
  b.  examine individual differences in reacting to illness.
  c.  examine the effects of coping styles.
  d.  develop ways of treating illnesses.

answer:  c


Chapter 7:  Eating Disorders

1.  For which of the following is hospitalization most likely to be part of treatment?
  a.  anorexia nervosa
  b.  binge eating disorder
  c.  bulimia
  d. obesity

answer:  a

2.  Bulimia is defined in the DSM-5 as
  a.  a medical problem
  b.  a psychological factor affecting physical condition
  c.  a subtype of anorexia
  d.  an eating disorder separate from anorexia

answer:  d

3.  Dieting has been shown to:
  a.  result in decreased health risks
  b.  increase risk for eating disorders
  c.  be a type of eating disorder
  d.  rarely be successful

answer:  b

4.  Medication treatment of bulimia typically consists of drugs targeting
  a.  anxiety
  b.  depression
  c.  hunger
  d.  perfectionism

answer:  b

5.  The fact that the prevalence of eating disorders has increased in the last few decades most supports which of the following etiological theories:
  a.  biological
  b.  cognitive
  c.  family systems
  d.  sociocultural

answer:  d


Chapter 8:  Gender Dysphoria and Sexual Disorders

1.  Bill finds himself monitoring the size and shape of his erection throughout sexual activity.  This type of behavior is called
    a.  sensate focus
    b.  spectatoring
    c.  sex role confusion
    d.  pleasure-centered intimacy

answer:  b

2.  Which of the following would be least likely to cause someone's sexual behavior to be considered clinically "abnormal" according to the guidelines discussed in class?
    a.  He is uncomfortable with his own behavior
    b.  His sexual partner is uncomfortable with his behavior
    c.  Other people are uncomfortable with his behavior
    d.  His behavior may harm someone else.

answer:  c

3.  Jim is employed as a female impersonator at a cabaret.  He nightly dresses up in women's clothes, wears makeup, and adopts feminine mannerisms throughout his show.  With the information given here, your best diagnosis for Jim would be:
    a.  gender dysphoria
    b.  transvestism
    c.  homosexuality
    d.  Jim wouldn't meet criteria for a DSM disorder based on the above.

answer:  d

4.   David is an exhibitionist who receives sexual gratification from exposing his genitals to women around town.  What would a psychoanalyst say is the cause of David's behavior?
    a.  fixation at an immature stage and fear of heterosexual relationships
    b.  childhood experience in which he was caught masturbating and found the experience arousing
    c.  castration anxiety leading to extreme hatred of women
    d.  serious marital problems and religious prohibitions

answer:  a

5.  Orgasmic reorientation involves
    a.  teaching transsexuals how to achieve orgasm after a sex-change operation.
    b.  pairing orgasm with target sexual stimuli (i.e., the stimulus to which the patient wishes to become attracted)
    c.  punishing the patient with an unpleasant stimulus while he is having an orgasmic response to problematic fantasy.
    d.  using a sexual surrogate to help the patient reach orgasm in a more conventional manner.

answer:  b

Chapter 6:  Mood Disorders

1.  Which of the following is not an effective treatment for major depression?
    a.  electroconvulsive shock therapy
    b.  cognitive therapy
    c.  tricyclics
    d.  lithium

answer:  d

2.  Jennifer has had several manic episodes, but has never been depressed.  What is the most likely diagnosis for her?
    a.  unipolar mood disorder
    b.  bipolar mood disorder
    c.  manic disorder
    d.  Jennifer would not receive a diagnosis unless she was also depressed.

answer:  b

3.   Two of the major components in Freud's theory of depression are:
    a.  introjection and loss
    b.  loss and mania
    c.  fixation at the anal stage and loss
    d.  fixation at the anal stage and repression
answer:  a

4.   Which of the following statements is most likely to come from a depressed person, according to Beck's theory?
    a.  "The world is going to hell in a handbasket."
    b.  "Our country has never been the same since the Vietnam war, and never will be as respected by the world again."
    c.  "I will never be able to figure out how to do my job the way my boss wants me to."
    d.  All of the above are typical examples of the thought processes of depressed individuals in Beck's view.
answer:  c

5.  According to reformulated learned helplessness theory which of the following self-statements after failing an exam is most likely to lead to depression?
 A) The teacher doesn't like me.
 B) I am stupid.
 C) I was in a bad mood on the day of the test.
 D) I did not study hard enough.
answer:  b

Chapter 10:  Schizophrenia

1.  Which of the following is not considered a positive symptom of schizophrenia?
    a.  delusions.
    b.  anhedonia.
    c.  disorganized speech.
    d.  hallucinations.

answer: b


2.  Regarding their delusions, most schizophrenics

a.  do not see their delusions as illogical or unusual.

b. recognize that their beliefs are unusual, but still cannot stop thinking about them.

c. seek help in ridding themselves of their delusional beliefs.

d. go to great lengths to convince themselves to give up their delusions, usually without success.

answer:  a

3.  Which of the following symptoms of schizophrenia would you be least likely to notice in someone you just met?
    a.  paranoid delusions
    b.  catatonia
    c.  echolalia
    d.  grossly disorganized behavior
answer: a

4.  Which best describes the relation between schizophrenia and social class?
    a.  Schizophrenia is about equally common in all social classes.
    b.  Schizophrenia is somewhat more common in lower classes.
    c.  Schizophrenia rates increase steadily as social class goes down.
    d.  Schizophrenia is much more common in the lowest social class.
answer:  d

5.  Electroconvulsive therapy is no longer used to treat schizophrenia because
    a.  it is ineffective.
    b.  drugs produce similar results more cheaply
    c.  of ethical and legal problems.
    d.  it only controls negative symptoms.
answer:  a

Chapter 11:  Personality Disorders

1.   The personalities of people with personality disorders tend to be ________ the personalities of those without personality disorders.
 A) indistinguishable from
 B) of a completely different type than
 C) dissociated from reality, relative to
 D) more extreme than
answer:  d

2.  James has only one real friend, and he says that is all he needs.  He seems to have no desire to interact with others at all.  Which of the following personality disorders is the best diagnosis for James?
 A) avoidant
 B)  narcissistic
 C) schizoid
 D) schizotypal
answer:  c

3.  In which of the following personality disorders is a mood disorder most likely to be comorbid?
  A) avoidant
 B)  borderline
 C) obsessive-compulsive
 D)  paranoid

answer:  b

4.  Object relations theory is a form of
 A) cognitive-behavioral theory.
 B) diathesis-stress theory.
 C) interpersonal theory
 D) psychoanalytic theory.
 answer:  d

 5.  Lykken's (1957) research supported the hypothesis that psychopaths experience _______________ than controls.
 A) more anxiety
 B) less anxiety
 C) more guilt
 D) less guilt
answer:  b

Chapter 12:  Disorders of Childhood

1.  The relationship between autism and mental retardation is that:
A)  They are indistinguishable from each other.
B)  Autism is usually also diagnosed in those diagnosed with mental retardation.
C)  Mental retardation is usually also diagnosed in those diagnosed with autism.
D)  There is no relationship between autism and mental retardation.

answer:  c

2.  Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and conduct disorder are
 A) new disorders not included in previous editions of the DSM.
 B) more of a problem to the children who have them than to people who interact with these children.
 C) externalizing disorders.
 D) internalizing disorders.
answer:  c

3.  What does research on incarceration for children with conduct disorders show?
 A) It leads to more adult crime.
 B) It is effective only if the child is diangosed with conduct disorder at a young age.
 C) It is effective if the parents concurrently participate in parent skills training.
 D) It is effective with children from intact families.
answer:  a

4. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales would most likely be administered when the suspected diagnosis is:
 A) antisocial personality disorder
 B) conduct disorders.
 C) a learning disability.
 D) mental retardation.
answer:  d

5. Nocturnal enuresis is a formal name for:
 A) nightmares.
 B) sleepwalking.
 C) night terrors
 D) bedwetting.
answer:  d

Chapter 13:  Aging and Cognitive Disorders

1. Senility is the commonly used term for
 A) the normal aging process.
 B) stroke.
 C) delirium.
 D) dementia.
answer:  d

2. Research on caregivers of patients with dementia have found which of the following coping methods to be most helpful for the caregivers?
 A) fatalistic resignation to the problem
 B) active studying of the problem and educating oneself about dementia
 C) denial of the problem
 D) problem-solving about how to improve the problem
answer:  a

3.  Older adults who are losing their hearing:
 A) respond well to treatment for paranoia.
 B) will almost invariably become paranoid.
 C) are more likely to become paranoid if others repeatedly insist that they have their hearing checked.
 D) are less likely to become paranoid if they acknowledge their deafness.
answer:  d

4. Why are women often less sexually active in old age than are men?
 A) They have more decline in their sexual functioning.
 B) They are less likely to have a sexual partner.
 C) They have a greater decrease in sexual desire.
 D) all of the above

answer:  b

5. Which of the following is a type of therapy developed specifically for older adults?
 A) client-focused therapy
 B) existential therapy
 C) life review
 D) short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy
answer:  c

Chapter 18:  Legal and Ethical Issues

1.  Which of the following is least likely to result in a successful insanity defense?

a.  antisocial personality disorder
b.  schizophrenia
c.  post-partum depression
d.  dissociative disorders

answer:  a

2.  For which of the following reasons is a therapist least likely allowed to break confidentiality?

a.  when clients say they plan to kill themselves
b.  when clients say they plan to kill others
c.  when the therapist suspects (but does not know for sure) that the client is molesting a child
d.  when clients confess to murder

answer:  d

3.  Which of the following is not a component of informed consent?

a.  lack of coercion
b.  information regarding alternative options
c.  knowledge of the study's results
d.  agreement to participate

answer:  c

4.  Which of the following terms is LEAST likely to be used by a psychologist diagnosing patients?

a.  mentally ill
b.  insane
c.  schizophrenic
d.  decompensated

answer:  b

5.  Civil commitment differs from criminal commitment generally in that

a.  civil commitment results from past actions whereas criminal commitment is to prevent future actions
b.  criminal commitment results from past actions whereas civil commitment is to prevent future actions
c.  in civil, but not criminal, commitment, one loses one's right to travel freely
d.  in criminal, but not civil, commitment, one loses one's right to travel freely

answer:  b


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