Essentials of Understanding Abnormal Behavior 3rd Edition

Essentials of Understanding Abnormal Behavior 3rd Edition
  • Author: David Sue, Derald Wing Sue and Diane M. Sue
    Publisher: Cengage Learning
    Genres: Medical
    Publish Date: January 1, 2016
    ISBN-10: 1305639995
    Pages: 576
    File Type: PDF
    Language: English


Book Preface

We are all touched in one way or another by mental health issues, either directly through our own emotional struggles or indirectly through friends or family. Thus, knowledge about symptoms, causes, and treatments associated with mental disorders and about methods for maintaining optimal mental health is a highly relevant topic for students. It is our hope that this textbook will be personally meaningful to all who read it.

In writing and revising Essentials of Understanding Abnormal Behavior, we once again seek to engage students in the exciting process of understanding abnormal behavior and the techniques that mental health professionals employ when assessing and treating mental disorders. Four major objectives have guided our pursuit of this goal:

■ to provide students with scholarship of the highest quality;
■ to offer balanced coverage of abnormal psychology as both a scientific and a clinical endeavor, giving students the opportunity to explore topics thoroughly and responsibly;
■ to focus on the human face of mental illness, including an emphasis on both resilience and recovery; and
■ to write a text that is inviting and stimulating for a wide range of students and that highlights meaningful topics encountered by college populations.

Essentials of Understanding Abnormal Behavior continues to retain the approach, style, and hallmark multicultural emphasis of our comprehensive text, Understanding Abnormal Behavior, while providing concise yet thorough coverage in a convenient 16-chapter format. The text is, therefore, manageable for a one-semester or one-quarter class. It presents complex material in a dynamic, highly readable format that challenges students, encourages them to think critically, and provides them with a solid background in the field of abnormal psychology.

The 3rd edition of Essentials of Understanding Abnormal Behavior has been extensively revised to accommodate the newest scientific, psychological, multicultural, and psychiatric research and is completely up-to-date with respect to the many changes and controversies surrounding the classification and diagnosis of mental disorders included in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Because the 2nd edition of Essentials of Understanding Abnormal Behavior covered anticipated DSM-5 changes, you will find that most chapters in the 3rd edition did not require extensive reorganization. However, we have included additional discussion of DSM-5 changes, as well as other key topics in the field of abnormal psychology.

Although we have relied on the DSM-5 for much of our organizational framework and for the specific diagnostic characteristics of mental disorders, you will find that we do not follow the DSM in a mechanistic fashion. Instead, we remain committed to providing our readers with information from a variety of key organizations and from the multitude of medical and psychological publications that address mental health issues. Thus, you will find that our discussions of disorders, contemporary issues, controversies, and trends in the field rely on numerous sources of information from a variety of disciplines.

As authors of an abnormal psychology textbook, we feel a keen responsibility to keep our book fresh and to incorporate the burgeoning and immensely important research from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry. In recent years, researchers from a variety of disciplines have made unprecedented contributions to our understanding of the causes of and most effective treatments for mental disorders. In addition to biological breakthroughs in treatment, there is excitement regarding the potential for psychological forms of intervention to create lasting changes in brain functioning and improve the distressing emotional and behavioral symptoms associated with mental illness. In keeping with our commitment to currency of information presented, you will find that we have included hundreds of new references in this edition of the text. Most important, consistent with our goal of a balanced presentation, the references come from a wide variety of journals and other resources. Further, we have made every attempt to determine which research is most critical to a comprehensive understanding of each mental disorder and to present that information in an understandable, nontechnical manner. Although we strive to avoid overwhelming students with extensive data or too much theory, we are strong believers in sharing research-based information and evidence-based mental health practices. As with previous editions of Essentials of Understanding Abnormal Behavior, our goal is to include recent and cutting-edge research from a variety of resources in a manner that engages the reader. We continue to receive very positive feedback about our use of the Multipath Model of Mental Disorders; the model is considered a highly effective visual and conceptual framework that helps students understand the multitude of factors that influence the development of various mental health conditions. In keeping with this model, we once again emphasize the importance of considering biological, psychological, social, and sociocultural factors and their interactions in the etiology of mental disorders. Our four-dimensional model ensures that instructors consistently consider sociocultural influences that are associated with specific disorders—an aspect often neglected by contemporary models of psychopathology.

Although we continue to emphasize the importance of multicultural issues in abnormal psychology, readers will find that we take a very balanced approach when discussing the etiology of mental disorders—emphasizing multicultural issues within the context of interactions between these cultural factors and biological, psychological, and social factors. In other words, we strive to provide an evenhanded approach to the topics we address throughout the text. Readers will find that another signature feature of our text, Mental Disorders Charts, concisely describe symptoms and diagnostic criteria, prevalence, and gender data, as well as data on course and outcome for many of the disorders we cover. Students can easily compare and contrast the various disorders presented throughout the book by referring to these charts and the Multipath Model figures. We are pleased to continue our Focus on Resilience feature, introduced in the 2nd edition. This feature encompasses contributions from the field of positive psychology and highlights key information relevant to both prevention and recovery from the symptoms associated with various disorders. This emphasis is particularly important given all of the recent data on neuroplasticity and the changes that are possible with prevention efforts or with evidence-based therapy targeted toward ameliorating the distressing symptoms of many disorders. Overall, we believe readers will find the text more engaging and captivating than ever before. We have made a consistent effort to align the information presented from chapter to chapter in order to enhance students’ understanding of more complex topics. We also connect our discussions with current events whenever possible and with issues of particular importance to college-age populations.

We have concentrated on providing students with information that relates not only to the field of abnormal psychology but also to their day-to-day lives—material students will find valuable both now and in the future. In fact, we view this text as a meaningful tool that students can refer to when they encounter questions regarding mental health issues in their personal lives or with co-workers or clientele within the workforce.

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