978-1-305-95044-3 – Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach by David H. Barlow
978-1-305-95044-3 – Science is a constantly evolving field, but every now and then something groundbreaking occurs that alters our way of thinking. For example, evolutionary biologists, who long assumed that the process of evolution was gradual, suddenly had to adjust to evidence that says evolution happens in fits and starts in response to such cataclysmic environmental events as meteor impacts. Similarly, geology has been revolutionized by the discovery of plate tectonics.
Until recently, the science of psychopathology had been compartmentalized, with psychopathologists examining the separate effects of psychological, biological, and social influences. This approach is still reflected in popular media accounts that describe, for example, a newly discovered gene, a biological dysfunction (chemical imbalance), or early childhood experiences as a “cause” of a psychological disorder. This way of thinking still dominates discussions of causality and treatment in some psychology textbooks: “The psychoanalytic views of this disorder are… ,” “the biological views are… ,” and, often in a separate chapter, “psychoanalytic treatment approaches for this disorder are… ,” “cognitive behavioral treatment approaches are… ,” or “biological treatment approaches are…”
In the first edition of this text, we tried to do something very different. We thought the field had advanced to the point that it was ready for an integrative approach in which the intricate interactions of biological, psychological, and social factors are explicated in as clear and convincing a manner as possible. Recent explosive advances in knowledge confirm this approach as the only viable way of understanding psychopathology. To take just two examples, Chapter 2 contains a description of a study demonstrating that stressful life events can lead to depression but that not everyone shows this response. Rather, stress is more likely to cause depression in individuals who already carry a particular gene that influences serotonin at the brain synapses. Similarly, Chapter 9 describes how the pain of social rejection activates the same neural mechanisms in the brain as physical pain. In addition, the entire section on genetics has been rewritten to highlight the new emphasis on gene–environment interaction, along with recent thinking from leading behavioral geneticists that the goal of basing the classification of psychological disorders on the firm foundation of genetics is fundamentally flawed. Descriptions of the emerging field of epigenetics, or the influence of the environment on gene expression, is also woven into the chapter, along with new studies on the seeming ability of extreme environments to largely override the effects of genetic contributions. Studies elucidating the mechanisms of epigenetics or specifically how environmental events influence gene expression are described.
Author: David H. Barlow
Pub Date: 1/1/2017
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