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abnormal behaviour: Patterns of emotion, thought, and action deemed pathological for one or more of the following reasons: infrequent occurrence, violation of norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction, and unexpectedness.


acculturation: The process that unfolds as different cultures come into contact with each other and diversity is experienced.


accurate empathic understanding: In client-centred therapy, an essential quality of the therapist, referring to the ability to see the world through the clientís phenomenology as well as from perspectives of which the client may be only dimly aware.


acetylcholine: A neurotransmitter of the central, somatomotor, and parasympathetic nervous systems and of the ganglia and the neuronĖsweat gland junctions of the sympathetic nervous system.


acquaintance (date) rape: Forcible sex when the people involved know each other, sometimes occurring on a date.


activity anorexia: The loss of appetite that results from being engaged in extreme physical activity. Activity anorexia could apply to ballet dancers or athletes, for example.


acute stress disorder: New in DSM-IV, a short-lived anxiety reaction to a traumatic event; if it lasts more than a month, it is diagnosed as posttraumatic stress disorder.


addiction: See substance dependence.


adoptees method: Research method which studies children who were adopted and reared completely apart from their abnormal parents, thereby eliminating the influence of being raised by disordered parents.


adrenal glands: Two small areas of tissue located just above the kidneys. The inner core of each gland, the medulla, secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine; the outer cortex secretes cortisol and other steroid hormones.


adrenaline: A hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands; also called epinephrine.


adrenergic system: All the nerve cells for which epinephrine and norepinephrine are the transmitter substances, as contrasted with the cholinergic system, which consists of the nerve cells activated by acetylcholine.


advanced directive: Legal document in which an individual prescribes and proscribes certain courses of action that are to be taken to preserve his or her health or terminate life support. These instructions are prepared before the person becomes incapable of making such decisions.


advanced accurate empathy: A form of empathy in which the therapist infers concerns and feelings that lie behind what the client is saying; it represents an interpretation. Compare with primary empathy.


affect: A subjective feeling or emotional tone often accompanied by bodily expressions noticeable to others.


age effects: The consequences of being a given chronological age. Compare with cohort effects.


ageism: Discrimination against someone because of his or her age.


agoraphobia: A cluster of fears centring on being in open spaces and leaving the home. It is often linked to panic disorder.


AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome): A fatal disease transmitted by transfer of the human immunodeficiency virus, usually during sexual relations or by using needles previously infected by an HIV-positive person; it compromises the immune system to such a degree that the person ultimately dies from cancer or from one of any number of infections.


alcoholism: A behavioural disorder in which consumption of alcoholic beverages is excessive and impairs health and social and occupational functioning; a physiological dependence on alcohol. See substance dependence.


alkaloid: An organic base found in seed plants, usually in mixture with a number of similar alkaloids. Alkaloids are the active chemicals that give many drugs their medicinal properties and other powerful physiological effects.


allostatic load: A maladaptive condition based in neurochemical reactions that reflect prolonged exposure to unpredictable stressors.


alogia: A negative symptom in schizophrenia, marked by poverty of speech and of speech content.


alternate form reliability: See reliability.


altruistic suicide
: As defined by Durkheim, self-annihilation that the person feels will serve a social purpose, such as the self-immolations practised by Buddhist monks during the Vietnam War.


Alzheimerís disease: A dementia involving a progressive atrophy of cortical tissue and marked by memory impairment, involuntary movements of limbs, occasional convulsions, intellectual deterioration, and psychotic behaviour.


ambivalence: The simultaneous holding of strong positive and negative emotional attitudes toward the same situation or person.


amenorrhea: The loss of a woman's menstrual period due to extreme weight loss and emaciation.


American Law Institute guidelines: Rules proposing that insanity is a legitimate defence plea if during criminal conduct, an individual could not judge right from wrong or control his or her behaviour as required by law. Repetitive criminal acts are disavowed as a sole criterion. Compare MíNaghten rule and irresistible impulse.


amino acid: One of a large class of organic compounds important as the building blocks of proteins.



amnesia: Total or partial loss of memory that can be associated with a dissociative disorder, brain damage, or hypnosis.


amniocentesis: A prenatal diagnostic technique in which fluid drawn from the uterus is tested for birth defects, such as Down syndrome.


amphetamines: A group of stimulating drugs that produce heightened levels of energy and, in large doses, nervousness, sleeplessness, and paranoid delusions.


anaesthesia: An impairment or loss of sensation, usually of touch but sometimes of the other senses, that is often part of conversion disorder.


anal personality: An adult who, when anal retentive, is found by psychoanalytic theory to be stingy and sometimes obsessively clean; when anal expulsive, to be aggressive. Such traits are assumed to be caused by fixation through either excessive or inadequate gratification of id impulses during the anal stage of psychosexual development.



anal stage: In psychoanalytic theory, the second psychosexual stage, which occurs during the second year of life when the anus is considered the principal erogenous zone.


analgesia: An insensitivity to pain without loss of consciousness, sometimes found in conversion disorder.


analogue experiment: An experimental study of a phenomenon different from but related to the actual interests of the investigator.


analysand: A person being psychoanalyzed.


analysis of defences: The study by a psychoanalyst of the ways in which a patient avoids troubling topics by the use of defence mechanisms.


analyst: See psychoanalyst.



analytical psychology: A variation of Freudís psychoanalysis introduced by Carl Jung and focusing less on biological drives and more on factors such as self-fulfillment, collective unconscious, and religious symbolism.


anger-in theory: The view that psychophysiological disorders, such as essential hypertension, arise from a personís not expressing anger or resentment.


angina pectoris: See coronary heart disease.


anhedonia: A negative symptom in schizophrenia in which the individual is unable to feel pleasure.


animal phobia: The fear and avoidance of small animals.


anomic suicide: As defined by Durkheim, self-annihilation triggered by a personís inability to cope with sudden and unfavourable change in a social situation.


anorexia nervosa: A disorder in which a person refuses to eat or to retain any food or suffers a prolonged and severe diminution of appetite. The individual has an intense fear of becoming obese, feels fat even when emaciated, refuses to maintain a minimal body weight, and loses at least 25 percent of his or her original weight.



anoxia: A deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues that is severe enough to damage the brain permanently.


Antabuse (trade name for disulfiram): A drug that makes the drinking of alcohol produce nausea and other unpleasant effects.


antidepressant: A drug that alleviates depression, usually by energizing the patient and thus elevating mood.


antipsychotic drug: Psychoactive drugs, such as Thorazine, that reduce psychotic symptoms but have long-term side effects resembling symptoms of neurological diseases.


antisocial personality: Also called a psychopath or a sociopath, a person with this disorder is superficially charming and a habitual liar, has no regard for others, shows no remorse after hurting others, has no shame for behaving in an outrageously objectionable manner, is unable to form relationships and take responsibility, and does not learn from punishment.


anxiety: An unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension accompanied by increased physiological arousal. In learning theory, it is considered a drive that mediates between a threatening situation and avoidance behaviour. Anxiety can be assessed by self-report, by measuring physiological arousal, and by observing overt behaviour.


anxiety disorders: Disorders in which fear or tension is overriding and the primary disturbance: phobic disorders, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, acute stress disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. These disorders form a major category in DSM-IV and cover most of what used to be referred to as the neuroses.


anxiety neurosis: DSM-II term for what are now diagnosed as panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.


anxiety sensitivity: A cognitive preoccupation that involves a fear of fear itself and thus contributes to a heightened sense of panic.


anxiolytics: Tranquilizers; drugs that reduce anxiety.


anxious attachment style: An attachment orientation in which the infant expresses great distress when left alone by the caregiver, but perhaps still in the presence of a stranger.


aphasia: The loss or impairment of the ability to use language because of lesions in the brain: executive, difficulties in speaking or writing the words intended; receptive, difficulties in understanding written or spoken language.


apnea: Cessation of breathing for short periods of time, sometimes occurring during sleep.


applied behaviour analysis: The study of the antecedent conditions and reinforcement contingencies that control behaviour. See also operant conditioning.


aptitude test: A paper-and-pencil assessment of a personís intellectual functioning that is supposed to predict how the person will perform at a later time; well-known examples include the Scholastic Aptitude Test and the Graduate Record Examination.


aptitude-treatment interaction: The suitability of a particular therapeutic intervention to a particular patient characteristic.


arousal: A state of behavioural or physiological activation.


ascriptive responsibility: The social judgment assigned to someone who has committed an illegal act and who is expected by society to be punished for it. Contrast with descriptive responsibility.


asociality: A negative symptom of schizophrenia marked by an inability to form close relationships and to feel intimacy.


Aspergerís disorder: Believed to be a mild form of autism in which social relationships are poor, and stereotyped behaviour is intense and rigid, but language and intelligence are intact.


assertion training: Behaviour therapy procedures that attempt to help a person more easily express thoughts, wishes, beliefs, and legitimate feelings of resentment or approval.


assimilation: The process of absorbing a minority group into a dominant group as they adapt and establish greater uniformity.


asthma: A psychophysiological disorder characterized by narrowing of the airways and increased secretion of mucus, often causing extremely labored and wheezy breathing.


asylums: Refuges established in western Europe in the fifteenth century to confine and provide for the mentally ill; the forerunners of the mental hospital.


attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A disorder in children marked by difficulties in focusing adaptively on the task at hand, by inappropriate fidgeting and antisocial behaviour, and by excessive non-goal-directed behaviour.


attribution: The explanation a person has for his or her behaviour.


autistic disorder: In this pervasive developmental disorder, the childís world is one of profound aloneness. Speech is often absent, and the child has an obsessive need for everything to remain the same.


automatic thoughts: In Beckís theory, the things people picture or tell themselves as they make their way in life.


autonomic lability: Tendency for the autonomic nervous system to be easily aroused.


autonomic nervous system (ANS): The division of the nervous system that regulates involuntary functions; innervates endocrine glands, smooth muscle, and heart muscle; and initiates the physiological changes that are part of the expression of emotion. See sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.


autonomy: A personality style associated with vulnerability to depression. It involves a need to work toward achievement goals while being free from constraints imposed by others.


aversion therapy: A behaviour therapy procedure that pairs a noxious stimulus, such as a shock, with situations that are undesirably attractive to make the situations less appealing.


aversive conditioning: Process believed to underlie the effectiveness of aversion therapy.


aversive stimulus: A stimulus that elicits pain, fear, or avoidance.


avoidance conditioning: Learning to move away from a stimulus that has previously been paired with an aversive stimulus such as electric shock.


avoidance learning: An experimental procedure in which a neutral stimulus is paired with a noxious one so that the organism learns to avoid the previously neutral stimulus.


avoidant attachment style: An attachment orientation in which the infant is withdrawn and detached from the caregiver, almost as if no attachment bond was formed in the first place.


avoidant personality disorder: Individuals with this disorder have poor self-esteem and thus are extremely sensitive to potential rejection and remain aloof even though they very much desire affiliation and affection.


avolition: A negative symptom in schizophrenia in which the individual lacks interest and drive.