San José State University
Department of Psychology
PSYC 110.8, Abnormal Psychology
Fall 2013


Dr. Steven Del Chiaro

Office Location:

DMH 342


(408) 924-5612


Office Hours:

TU- TH 9:00 am – 10:00 am
MO-WE 8:00 am – 8:45 am

Or by appointment.

Class Days/Time:

Tuesday/Thursday 7:30 am  - 8:45 am


Dudley Moorhead Hall 356

Course Web Page

Link To Syllabus Word Document

Class Website:
Copies of the course materials such as the syllabus, major assignment handouts, etc. may be found on my web page at  You are responsible for regularly checking with the messaging system through MySJSU.

I am still attempting to learn: Go here for all course information, announcements, and handouts; check 3x/week

Logging Into Canvas

Canvas Login URL: . Please note that it should NOT have the "www" at the start of the URL like many other websites.

All students and faculty must first set up their SJSUOne account before accessing Canvas.  To do so, go to . The Username for Canvas then is your 9 digit SID or Employee ID and your PW is the one you chose when you established your SJSUOne account.  You will see the courses you taking (assuming the instructor is using Canvas).

Further Assistance with Canvas

Students should go first to with problems and then to the University Help Desk for Canvas problems, including logging in  (                                                             

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce you to some of the major topics in clinical psychology.  This course will help you begin to appreciate the complexity of thought, feelings and behavior through an examination of what can happen when these processes become dysfunctional. We will look at historical theories as well as new research and findings. Emphasis will be placed on psychological, biological, and environmental factors that interact to create symptoms and behaviors associated with specific disorders.  Students are encouraged to think critically about stigmas and labels associated with the mentally ill.  Societal and cultural norms influence what is considered “abnormal”; however, psychologists strive to empirically arrive at diagnostic criteria, etiology, prognosis, and treatments of mental disorders.  Since many behaviors and symptoms we will address may seem familiar (e.g., checking to see if you locked your door 5x), you are forewarned NOT to self-diagnose. By the end of the course, you should be more sensitive to issues pertaining to psychological dysfunction, and more knowledgeable about the industry of mental illness and in modern America and its impact on individuals and society.

Required Texts/Readings

Barlow, D.H. & Durand, V.M. (2012). Abnormal psychology: An integrative approach, 6th Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. 
ISBN 13: 9781111343620

Student Companion Site for Text:||12288459278333295571436324043782427307&N=16&Ns=P_CopyRight_Year|1&Ntk=all||P_EPI

Chapter 1 pdf.

Rosenhan, D.L. (1973). On being sane in insane places. Science, 179, 250-258.  Can be accessed on the web: Rosenhan, D.L. (1973). On being sane in insane places. Science, 179, 250-258. 

Learning Outcomes

The two goals of the course are to provide students with a broad understanding of psychological problems and develop critical thinking skills applicable to the study of abnormal behavior.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. To understand the importance of history and context when examining and classifying psychological distress;
  2. To familiarize students with diagnosable psychopathologies;
  3. To be familiar with and critical of different types of assessment of abnormal behavior;
  4. To present some theories of etiology and have students come to their own conclusions of the nature and causes of specific psychopathologies;
  5. To introduce some clinical therapies that have been proven useful in the treatment of specific disorders.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLO)

Upon successful completion of the psychology major requirements…

PLO1 – Knowledge Base of Psychology – Students will be able to identify, describe, and communicate the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology. (test, quizzes, paper)

PLO2 – Research Methods in Psychology – Students will be able to design, implement, and communicate basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretations. (paper)

PLO3 – Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology – Students will be able to use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and a scientific approach to address issues related to behavior and mental processes. (paper)

PLO4 – Application of Psychology – Students will be able to apply psychological principles to individual, interpersonal, group, and societal issues. (tests, paper)

PLO5 – Values in Psychology – Students will value empirical evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and recognize their role and responsibility as a member of society. (paper)

Library Liaison

Bernd Becker
Phone: (408) 808-2348

Classroom Protocol

Syllabus Policy:
The course syllabus presented in this document will be followed as closely as possible. However, the course syllabus, schedule, policies, and procedures are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor or in the event of extenuating circumstances. This includes the tentative dates listed. The instructor will announce possible changes of the syllabus in advance. Since such announcements are typically made during class, it is the student’s responsibility to clarify any of these changes that may have been made when the student is absent.

Although you will be responsible for all of the material in the assigned readings, some of the information may not be covered in class. Therefore, if there is material that is unclear to you it is highly recommended that you discuss this material with me at an appropriate time (e.g., during office hours). It is your responsibility to read the syllabus and ask questions about it so that you have a clear understanding of the expectations. If you are unclear about any of the requirements/expectations, then please set up a time to speak with me. I will be grading as though you have a clear understanding of the course requirements and material.

I will not be taking attendance. You are adults and need to make your own decisions.  Please realize that your decisions have consequences (If this makes no sense to you then you need to enrolled in Psychology 155 Human Learning, because you will understand through operant conditioning that behaviors have consequences!).  Students are responsible for everything that is said and done in class. I strive to make my classes not only educational but also enjoyable. It is important to note that it is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from a course they do not wish to take. If you simply stop coming to the class and do not withdraw from the course, then you will still receive a grade that will be based on the completed work. Additionally, I encourage students to arrive on time for the class. However, I understand that extenuating circumstances do arise that can prevent your diligent efforts toward punctuality. If you are late to class, please take a seat in the row of desks/seats closest to the door in order to prevent disruption to the class. I hope you will take advantage of this policy only when absolutely necessary.  I do have a small portion of your grade based on participation, tardiness affects participation.  Many important pieces of information are discussed in class, and students are responsible for knowing and complying with this information including changes in assignments. Please make appropriate adjustments to your schedule to allow for arrival to the class on time (e.g., arriving early to avoid traffic/parking problems).   

Classroom courtesy and disruptions:
Class disruptions are not tolerated. Students will be asked to leave if they are being disruptive to fellow students or the professor. Disruptions include but are not limited to cell phones and pagers going off for any reason (even accidental), TEXTING (yes, I still see it if you hold the phone under your desk during class!), talking when not participating in an instructor- assigned activity, and not paying attention (e.g., reading the newspaper, sleeping). In addition, please place electronic communication devices (e.g., pagers, cell phones) in the “off” position during class. If you must make or answer a call, please excuse yourself from class for such activity.  In accordance with university policies on student conduct, it is expected that you will treat other students and the instructor with courtesy and respect. Being on the phone and texting ARE ACTIVITIES THAT ARE NOT RESPECTFUL!  Additionally, this class is conducted where you have wireless Internet access, please do not “surf’ the web.  See Electronics Policy.

Recording of Class Lectures
Common courtesy and professional behavior dictates that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor’s permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. This permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material.

Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor-generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent.

Dropping and Adding
Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc.  Refer to the current semester’s Catalog Policies section at  Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic calendar web page located at  The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Assignments and Grading Policy

Exams will be multiple-choice, short-answer and fill in.  The tests will have questions from the text, lectures and videos.  Each exam will be given during the lecture period, and you will have the class period to complete the exam.  Students will not be allowed to use the restroom during the exam period and cell phone use during a test, or test review, will result in referral to Judicial Affairs and receive a course grade of F/NC.   


At 6 points during the semester a quiz will be given.  These quizzes will cover the text reading and will be aimed at helping you understand and think about the material covered.  Your four best quizzes will constitute 20 points towards your final grade. This means that two quizzes can be missed or dropped.  There will be no make-ups for quizzes.

This semester there will be four writing projects:  Rosenhan study, Assignment 1: Current Psychology Research Chapters 1 – 8, Assignment 2: Current Psychology Research Chapters 8 – 16, and the Film Review. . I WILL NOT ACCEPT LATE WORK.  An assignment is considered late if a hard copy is not turned in by the end of the class period it is due.  I do not accept electronic copies of assignments.


Rosenhan, D.L. (1973). On being sane in insane places. Science, 179, 250-258.  

You may answer these questions in bullet point format.  PLEASE PUT YOUR NAME ON THE TOP OF YOUR ASSIGNMENT.  No cover page needed.  Answer each question.

Read the Rosenhan (1973) paper and answer the questions below.

1. Describe the purpose of the study:

            1a. What is the main question that Rosenhan raised about the concept of ‘sanity’?

            1b. Describe labeling, depersonalization and generalization.

2. Briefly describe the procedures of this study:

            2a. What did the eight ‘pseudopatients’ do?

            2b. Describe the settings they went to.

            2c. Describe how the pseudopatients behaved in the institutions.

3. Briefly describe the results of this study:

            3a. How often were the pseudopatients detected?

            3b. What were their diagnoses?

            3c. How long were their stays in the hospitals?

            3d. How did other patients respond to the pseudopatients?



Article Summary 1 and 2

Assignment 1: Current Psychology Research Chapters 1 - 7

Assignment 2: Current Psychology Research Chapters 8 – 16

Students should think about their Film Review Project character and choose areas that can be incorporated into their paper 

Assignment 1: Current Psychology Research Chapters 1 – 7
Choose two (2) areas of interest from the chapters designated.  Find an empirical peer reviewed article on the topic and complete an article summary. For Assignment 1 you will turn in two (2) article summaries.  Please see and follow description below.

Assignment 2: Current Psychology Research Chapters 8 – 16
Choose two (2) areas of interest from the chapters designated.  Find an empirical peer reviewed article on the topic and complete an article summary. For Assignment 2 you will turn in two (2) article summaries.  Please see and follow description below.

How to write an Article Summary
Purposes:  To understand the research on your topic, to develop the backbone of your paper, and to learn to apply APA style.


1.      Put your name, class time, date and the number of the article summary (AS#__) at the top right hand corner.

2.      Put a complete APA reference for the article at the beginning of your summary.

3.      Each summary is 2 paragraphs long and approximately 200 - 250 words total.  The first paragraph summarizes the authors’ purpose (~1 sentence) and methods (~3-5 sentences).  The second paragraph summarizes the results (~2-4 sentences) and the authors’ discussion and conclusions (~2-3 sentences). 

4.      After the initial sample article summary, attach a copy of the first page of the article (including the abstract) to your summary.



Website to Help with Writing Article Summaries


Select a film, television show or novel that you enjoy and select your favorite character. (do NOT choose movies with obvious diagnosis, such as A Beautiful Mind, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, American Psycho, Secret Window, etc.). Pick something you enjoy.  Reviews must be no greater than six typewritten pages of text and include Parts A, B & C as described below. Be sure to include a cover page and at least five (5) references. 

Part A:  Clinical Assessment.  This section of the paper focus is from Chapter three of your text. Why are they coming into therapy?  It may help to narrow your description to how this person acts in a certain situation or a specific aspect of their psychopathology.  You will be conducting a clinical interview on your character.  This part should be a strictly descriptive, without any interpretation. That is, describe what this person does, says or feels, not why that is.  At the end of this section, a DSM Multi-Axial Assessment should be given. Use imagination and creativity (Assessment, use chapter 3).

Part B:  Support the diagnosis.  Go back over the description in the first part and provide empirical evidence for this psychopathology.  The DSM-IV lists disorders and gives a list of symptoms.  In this section, discuss the disorder’s etiology, clinical presentation and prognosis.  Students need to describe the symptoms of the disorder and provide behaviors of the character that support the diagnosis. (Diagnosis, should use text and focus on chapters that cover the diagnosis area)

Part C:  How would you treat this person? You should use an empirically supported treatment, then you can come up with a theory of treatment if you like.  State your opinions and the reasons behind them.  DO NOT USE “I” STATEMENTS.  This is your opportunity to have a voice; there are no wrong opinions.  Just be sure to provide the reasons for what you think so that the reader can understand your thinking.  (Your thoughts)

Structure for Assignments

  1. Your papers need be organized - you should be developing a central idea in each section and the reader should be able to follow the logic of your argument.  Each paragraph should have a coherent theme and paragraphs should follow each other in an organized manner. Read over your papers to be sure that there is a logical order to them. 
  1. Watch for grammatical errors, particularly sentence fragments and run-on sentences. More than five spelling or grammatical errors will result in points deducted from final grades.  More than ten will result in a zero (0).  I encourage you to have your paper proof read.
  1. Your papers will be typewritten, double-spaced, one-inch margins, using Times New Roman (or VERY similar) font.
  1. On a sheet attached to the front of all your papers, type the Title of your paper. In addition you must include Name, Course, Course Number, Semester/Year, and Due Date.
  1. Citations/references included in your paper are to be done according to APA style as described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 4th Edition, which is available in the library, the campus bookstore, and on-line. 

Grading will be based on the sum of the following: 

  1. 3 exams covering lectures, films, guest speakers, outside readings and the text are worth 100 points each (300). 
  2. Four quizzes will be worth 5 points each (20). 
  3. The Rosenhan Article Write up will be worth 10 points (10).
  4. Two current research assignments will be worth 10 points (20).
  5. Film Review Paper will be worth 80 points (80).

The grade scale is as follows:



94 – 100%



77 – 79%




90 – 93%



73 – 76%




87 – 89%



70 – 72%




83 – 86%



67 – 69%




80 – 82%



60 – 66%


Late Work:  No Late Work Will Be Accepted

No Make-up Exams Allowed:  Only with valid written medical excuse will any exam be allowed at a time other than those scheduled for your class. 

Electronics Policy:  After many semesters of students misusing electronic devices in a large lecture room, I have now implemented a NO ELECTRONICS policy. That means NO PHONES OR TABLETS OR LAPTOPS during class or exam. Even for note taking. I know you are used to these, but experience has shown me that a vast majority of students simply spend most of their time with their head down and looking at the screen rather than being engaged in the course material. I have data to back me up on this: research shows that Websurfing/texting during class directly lowers your grade (and disrupts those around you). Go to:

University Policies

Academic integrity

Your commitment as a student to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University.  The University’s Academic Integrity policy, located at, requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified. If you would like to include your assignment or any material you have submitted, or plan to submit for another class, please note that SJSU’s Academic Policy S07-2 requires approval of instructors.

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at to establish a record of their disability.

Student Technology Resources

Computer labs for student use are available in the Academic Success Center located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall and on the 2nd floor of the Student Union. Additional computer labs may be available in your department/college. Computers are also available in the Martin Luther King Library.

A wide variety of audio-visual equipment is available for student checkout from Media Services located in IRC 112. These items include digital and VHS camcorders, VHS and Beta video players, 16 mm, slide, overhead, DVD, CD, and audiotape players, sound systems, wireless microphones, projection screens and monitors.

Learning Assistance Resource Center

The Learning Assistance Resource Center (LARC) is located in Room 600 in the Student Services Center. It is designed to assist students in the development of their full academic potential and to inspire them to become independent learners. The Center's tutors are

trained and nationally certified by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA). They provide content-based tutoring in many lower division courses (some upper division) as well as writing and study skills assistance. Small group, individual, and drop-in tutoring are available. Please visit the LARC website for more information at


SJSU Writing Center

The SJSU Writing Center is located in Room 126 in Clark Hall.  It is staffed by professional instructors and upper-division or graduate-level writing specialists from each of the seven SJSU colleges. Our writing specialists have met a rigorous GPA requirement, and they are well trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines to become better writers. The Writing Center website is located at

Peer Mentor Center

The Peer Mentor Center is located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall in the Academic Success Center. The Peer Mentor Center is staffed with Peer Mentors who excel in helping students manage university life, tackling problems that range from academic challenges to interpersonal struggles. On the road to graduation, Peer Mentors are navigators, offering “roadside assistance” to peers who feel a bit lost or simply need help mapping out the locations of campus resources. Peer Mentor services are free and available on a drop –in basis, no reservation required. The Peer Mentor Center website is located at

Student Success and Wellness

Attending to your wellness is critical to your success at SJSU. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the workshops and programs offered through various Student Affairs Departments on campus such as Counseling Services, the SJSU Student Health Center/ Wellness & Health Promotion Dept., and Career Center. See or for workshop/events schedule and links to many other services on campus that support your wellness! You may go to to register for any one of the workshops.

Reading Topics, Exams and Dates: Psych1, S13 

Note:  This course will follow this syllabus to the extent possible.  The timing and specific nature of topics and activities may change.  You are responsible for keeping informed of any changes made to the class syllabus.  Such changes will be clearly stated in class and will be posted on the class web site.  You are responsible for checking the class web site before each class. Therefore, it is extremely important to check the website before each class.



Topics, Readings, Assignments, Deadlines


Aug. 22

Class Business/Syllabus



Aug. 27

Aug. 29

Movie “Madness”

Introduction, History and Definitions, Chapter 1



Sept. 3

Sept. 5


Approaches to Psychopathology, Chapter 2



Sept. 10

Sept. 12


Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis, Chapter 3
Rosenhan Assignment Due



Sept. 17

Sept. 19

Research Methods, Chapter 4



Sept. 24

Sept. 26


Anxiety Disorders, Chapter 5



Sept. 31

Oct. 3


Examination 1, Assignment 1 Due


Oct. 8

Oct. 10

Somatoform/Dissociative Disorders, Chapter 6


Oct. 15

Oct. 17

Mood Disorders, Chapter 7



Oct. 22

Oct. 24

Personality Disorders, Chapter 12



Oct. 29

Oct. 31

Eating and Sleep Disorders, Chapter 8          



Nov. 5

Nov. 7

Examination 2, Assignment 2 Due

Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders, Chapter 9



Nov. 12

Nov. 14




Nov. 19

Nov. 21


Developmental Disorders



Nov. 26

Nov. 28

Paper Due

Thanksgiving Holiday



Dec. 3

Dec. 5

Cognitive Disorders

Final Exam

Tuesday, December 17

7:15 am – 9:30 am

What is Darth Vader's diagnosis?

Power Points:



Introduction, History and Definitions

Chapter 1



Approaches to Psychopathology

Chapter 2



Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis

Chapter 3



Research Methods

Chapter 4



Anxiety Disorders

Chapter 5



Somatoform/Dissociative Disorders

Chapter 6



Mood Disorders

Chapter 7


Eating and Sleep Disorders

Chapter 8



  Chapter 9



Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders

Chapter 10


Substance-Related Disorders

Chapter 11



Personality Disorders 

Chapter 12



Chapter 13


Developmental Disorders

Chapter 14



Cognitive Disorders                 

Chapter 15



Mental Health Services: Legal and Ethical Issues

Chapter 16