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PSYC203 Abnormal Psychology

Psychological disorders of childhood and adulthood, clinical assessment, and health psychology.

This paper focuses on current issues in the study of psychological disorders and health psychology. The paper presents an introduction to a range of psychological disorders of childhood and adulthood, as well as psychological issues for physical health conditions. The paper highlights the scientist-practitioner approach that is applied in clinical psychology and health psychology.

Paper title Abnormal Psychology
Paper code PSYC203
Subject Psychology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

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PSYC 111 and PSYC 112
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
A student who has attempted one only of PSYC111 and PSYC112, but who has achieved a grade of at least B and has passed additional papers worth at least 90 points, may take the other 100-level PSYC paper concurrently with any of PSYC203, PSYC210-PSYC212.

Teaching staff

Lecturers: Associate Professor Dione Healey
Associate Professor Richard Linscott
Associate Professor Gareth Treharne

Paper Structure
PSYC 203 is an optional paper and consists of lectures and associated laboratories.The first block of lectures covers psychological disorders of childhood:
  • Abnormal child development
  • DSM-V classifications
  • Ethics
  • ADHD
  • Conduct disorder
  • Childhood anxiety and depression
  • Autism
The second block covers psychological disorders of adulthood:
  • Classification
  • Measurement
  • Personality disorders
  • Depression and suicide
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
The third block covers introductory health psychology:
  • Defining health
  • The role of demographic factors in health
  • Addictions
  • Body image
  • Gender
  • Illness and ways of coping
  • Medication adherence
  • Representations of illness in the media
The exact lectures may vary from year to year, but will follow this general structure.

Laboratory Work:

Psychology is an empirical subject and laboratory work is an integral and important component. Topics in the laboratory programme are related to those covered in the lecture courses.

  • Internal assessment (50%) consists of eight sets of laboratory questions; a critical review of a set empirical article; and a laboratory report.
  • The final exam (50%) consists of multi-choice questions.
Full details of paper requirements are contained in the course information available on Blackboard.

Teaching Arrangements
Two 50-minute lectures each week (26 lectures in total)

A 2-hour laboratory each week for 10 weeks
Required reading:
Bennett, P. (2011). Abnormal and clinical psychology: An introductory textbook (3rd ed.). Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.

Additional book chapters and research articles will be set as required reading.

Recommended reading:
Findlay, B. (2012). How to write psychology research reports and essays (6th ed.). French Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will develop
  • Awareness of psychological practice roles and postgraduate training pathways to become a registered clinical psychologist or registered psychologist with specialisation in health psychology within New Zealand (and international equivalents)
  • Insight into current debates, theories, research and evidence-based practice in clinical psychology and health psychology
  • The ability to critique and synthesise existing research in clinical psychology and health psychology
  • Awareness of how to plan, carry out and write-up a clinical psychology research study

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 15:00-15:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 15:00-16:50 29-34, 36-41
A2 Monday 19:00-20:50 29-34, 36-41
A3 Tuesday 17:00-18:50 29-34, 36-41
A4 Wednesday 09:00-10:50 29-34, 36-41
A5 Wednesday 11:00-12:50 29-34, 36-41
A6 Wednesday 19:00-20:50 29-34, 36-41
A7 Thursday 11:00-12:50 29-34, 36-41