Students apply a biopsychosocial framework to the study of a selected mental disorder. They identify protective and risk factors, coping mechanisms and the principles of how treatments work. Students analyse how biological, psychological and socio-cultural factors interact to contribute to the development and treatment of these disorders. As students examine classic and contemporary studies, they evaluate the research methodologies used and consider associated ethical issues.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to differentiate between mental health and mental illness, and use a biopsychosocial framework to explain the causes and management of stress and a selected mental disorder.
To achieve this outcome the student will draw on key knowledge outlined in Area of Study 2 and related key skills and research methodologies.
This knowledge includes:
DP 5: application of a biopsychosocial framework to understanding ONE type of mental disorder and its management.
Mood disorder: major depression
DP 5.1: biological contributing factors: role of genes in contributing to the risk of developing major depression; roles of the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline in major depression; the function of antidepressant medication in management
DP 5.2: psychological contributing factors: learned helplessness; stress; the use of psychotherapies in management including cognitive behaviour therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy
DP 5.3: socio-cultural contributing factors: abuse, poverty, social isolation and social stressors as risk factors; support factors including family and social networks and recovery groups
DP 5.4: the interaction between biological, psychological and socio-cultural factors which contribute to an understanding of the disorder and its management
Dotpoint 5 OPTIONS are provided as separate dotpoint notes. Please ask you teacher for the set relevant to your chosen mental disorder
Dotpoint 5: “application of a biopsychosocial framework to understanding ONE of the following types of mental disorder and its management”
Option 1: Anxiety Disorder - Specific phobia
Option 2: Mood Disorder – Major depression
Option 3: Addictive Disorder – Gambling
Note: The Psychotic disorder, schizophrenia is also an option for a mental disorder to study but this will not be supported as one of the three options covered within the BSSC Psychology curriculum
Option 2: Mood disorder - Major depression
Relevant pages of the textbook: (4th ed) pp. 674-681 (5th ed) pp.603-607
Mood is a mental state or overall feeling that colours our perception of the world and influences how we go about daily life. Everyone experiences mood fluctuations. Experiencing these highs and lows is quite normal, however moods that are severe for no apparent reason, persist much longer than the normal ups and downs than most people experience, and/or impair the ability to function in everyday life can indicate that the person may have a mood disorder.
The DSM outlines various types of moods and mood disorders (refer to diagram on page 676), including moods that are severely elevated (high) and very low.
The diagnosis of a major depressive episode is made on the basis of a collection of symptoms.
The person must demonstrate the following: (more information for each on page 679)
Dotpoint 5.1: “biological contributing factors: role of genes in contributing to the risk of developing major depression; roles of the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenalin in major depression; the function of antidepressant medication in management”
Relevant pages of the textbook: (4th ed) pp. 683-687 (5th ed) pp. 609- 613
Role of genes: Evidence has been found to suggest that major depression has a genetic component. If one parent has major depression, the risk to one of their offspring of developing major depression at some