Pennsylvania State University Lehigh Valley
PSYCH270 Abnormal Psychology
Tuesday/Thursday 3:05 p.m. – 4:20 p.m.; ZOOM
Instructor: Wendy Bartkus, MS
Email: [email protected]
Text Number: 484-791-2808 (text messages ONLY)
Office Hours: After class and by appointment
PSYCH 270 Introduction to Abnormal Psychology (3 credits). Overview of assessment, causes,
and treatments of psychological disorders.
PSYCH 270 Introduction to Abnormal Psychology (3)
(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.
This course focuses on some of the topics and questions people most commonly ask about
psychology: What are the different psychological disorders, and what are they like? How do
clinicians diagnose someone with a disorder? What do therapists actually do in therapy? Course
objectives include: (a) examine historical and current conceptions of normal and abnormal
behavior; (b) survey the origins, symptoms, and characteristics of several adult psychological
disorders; and (c) introduce the main treatment approaches for psychological disorders. The
course is designed to be accessible to both Psychology majors and others.
By the end of the course students will be able to:
(1) Understand the nature of abnormal behavior and mental illness.
(2) Understand the process of assessing such behavior and the most commonly used system for
classifying psychological disorders.
(3) Compare and contrast several different theoretical perspectives on psychological
(4) Discuss the research methods used and research findings on various psychological
(5) For each of the disorders included in the DSM-5, identify the symptoms, treatments, and
theories about the causes (etiology).
(6) Discuss various legal issues relevant to mental illness and
(7) Explain the ethical, cultural, and legal issues that are especially relevant to this area of
(8) Apply what you have learned to specific case studies in abnormal psychology.
Comer, R. & Comer, J.S. (2019). Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology, 9th ed. Macmillian.
Supplemental Readings on the course LMS website.
This course may require you to have a webcam for class sessions and assessments. Classes and
assessments may be conducted using Zoom or other technology selected by your instructor which
may use your computer’s webcam or other technologies to communicate, monitor, and/or record
classes, class activities, and assessments. Assessments may also be conducted using proctoring
software, which may listen to you, monitor your computer screen, view you and your surroundings,
and record (including visual and audio recordings) all activity during the proctoring process. Please
contact your instructor if you are unable to comply or have any questions or concerns.
Tech Requirements for Zoom
Please review the University website for Zoom tech requirements:
STATEMENT OF ACADEMIC INTEGRITY
“Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner.
Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at the Pennsylvania State
University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with
this principle. Consistent with this expectation, the University’s Code of Conduct states that all
students should act with personal integrity, respect other students’ dignity, rights and property, and
help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts.
Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification,
misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles
of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others” (University
Faculty Senate Policy 49-20)
Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, fabricating information or
citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of
examinations, submitting works of another person or work previously used without informing the
instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. For any material or ideas
obtained from other sources, such as the text or things you see on the web, in the library, etc., a
course reference must be given. Direct quotes from any source must be identified as such. All
exam answers must be your own, and you must not provide any assistance to other students
Students are expected to be familiar with and behave in accordance with their professional ethics
code and the University Code of Conduct (http://www.sa.psu.edu/ja/conduct.shtml). Failure to
behave in accordance with these codes will likely result in disciplinary action. Lack of familiarity
does not absolve students of responsibility for their actions.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs.
Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged contact Disability
Services located in room 211 Saucon or at 610-285-5124. For further information regarding the
Office of Disability Services, please visit their web site at www.equity.psu.edu/ods. Please plan to
meet with me as soon as possible to discuss specific accommodations needed to complete course
Penn State Keep Learning
For resources to help you plan for your courses and maintain continuity of learning throughout the
semester, please go to the Keep Learning webpage:
Counseling and Psychological Services
Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may
interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing. The university
offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and
group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.
These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy
respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability,
gender identity and sexual orientation.
Counseling and Psychological Services at Lehigh Valley
In case of crisis, please contact:
911 or 610-782-3127
Make an Appointment
Stop in during normal hours,
or contact: Tammy Yocum-Cwienkala [email protected] | 610-285-5077
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741
EDUCATIONAL EQUITY/REPORT BIAS STATEMENT
Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty,
and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability,
gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status
are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage
Late Assignments: All course requirements are due on the specified dates. Late submissions will
have 5 points deducted for every day the assignment is late. Students who have unexpected but
legitimate reasons that interfere with the completion of course requirements (e.g., family death,
hospitalization, documented illness) should inform the instructor by email as soon as they realize a
legitimate event may interfere meeting the deadline.
Exams: All students are expected to take the exams no later than the scheduled dates. There will
be no make up exams given.
Technology: Students are expected to check their PSU webmail and LMS website regularly. If
students send e-mail via the LMS, please check the box that says, “send to regular e-mail
address.” You should expect a response to your email within two days.
Attendance/Participation: The course will be valuable to all if you actively participate throughout
the semester. Students are expected to read the assignments before class meets and be
prepared to discuss and/or answer questions about the reading. The assignments are listed at the
end of the syllabus.
Students will receive a grade each time the class meets for class participation. Participation also
includes, but is not limited to, being attentive, participating in discussions, etc. Students are
expected to complete all readings, attend classes, have relevant materials, participate in class
discussions and activities and complete all homework assignments. Students are expected to be
in class at the start of class and remain until the end of class.
•To direct course of study to introduce students to the study of psychology
•To promote critical thinking skills
•To be available to answer questions
•To be a resource in helping the student meet course requirements
•To follow course of study as indicated on syllabus
•To arrive ON TIME
•To attend and participate in class
•To respect all students and their opinions
•To NOT talk when others are talking OR during video presentations
•To read assignments prior to each class
•To complete and hand in assignments on time
•To notify instructor ahead of time of absence
•If absent, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor to make up missed material.
•To ask questions about material that is not understood
•To communicate problems/concerns about class to instructor
•To turn off cell phones during class (if emergency situation, see instructor)
Participation and Professionalism (variable depending on participation activity)
The format of this class will be lecture, discussion (both in synchronous and asynchronous), and
experiential activities. The primary responsibility for leading the discussion and related activities
belongs to the instructor. It is expected, however, that you will have read the material beforehand
and are prepared to discuss it.
Your grade for class participation and professionalism incorporates participation in class
discussions and activities as well as demonstrated professionalism throughout the course.
In addition to Zoom meetings, we will also be using other programs for class participation activities.
These include, but are not limited to Nearpod, Flipgrid, EdPuzzle, etc. Each activity will be worth
Discussion Forums (25 points each)
There will be eight Discussion Board topics on the course Canvas site. Students are required to
participate in the discussions throughout the semester. The posts will be graded as follows:
-Responses must be original thoughts. If the student refers to a source (including the
textbook and websites), the student must use APA style in-text citations and a works-cited
section at the bottom of the post. Each response will be checked for originality.
-Posts must be a minimum of 2 paragraphs or about 150-200 words each.
-Posts must demonstrate that students used critical thinking in answering the question or
commenting on the topic.
-To receive full credit for the post, students must respond to at least one other student’s
post with comments and thoughts about that student’s ideas.
-The student’s first post must be made prior to the deadline set forth in the instructor’s
description of the post. Assignment grades will be deducted 5 points for each DAY (not
class period) an assignment is handed in late.
Chapter Quizzes (10 points each)
There is one quiz per chapter scheduled for this course. Quizzes will be used to reinforce key
concepts and will cover class readings, class discussions, and videos shown in class. These
quizzes will be objective, multiple choice questions).
Case Conceptualization/Application Paper (100 points)
For your application paper, choose a FICTIONAL character and diagnose that character with a
DSM-5 diagnosis. Your character MUST BE APPROVED NO LATER THAN September 22, 2020,
on the course LMS. THE PAPER IS DUE ON December 3, 2020. The character may be from a
television show, a book, a movie, a cartoon, etc. Use the information you learned in the course to
develop a case conceptualization for the character. Discuss how the character’s biopsychosocial
background may contribute to the presenting diagnosis. Be sure to include very specific examples
of the behaviors of the character that justify the diagnosis. You may not be able to get enough
information to apply all the theories we learned, so use as many as you can with the life
information you have about your character. Paper should also include recommended level of care,
treatment plan, minimum three treatment goals, and prognosis.
The final paper must be submitted in APA format. Your final exam is required to be a minimum of 5
pages. REMEMBER: You MUST use in-text citations and include a reference page.
Final Exam (100 points)
There will be a cumulative final exam for the course. The exam will be used to reinforce key
concepts and will cover class readings, class discussions, and videos shown in class throughout
the semester. THERE WILL BE NO MAKE-UP FINAL EXAM.
Chapter Quizzes 160
Participation and Professionalism variable
Discussion Forums 200
Case Conceptualization/Application Paper 100
Final Exam 100
Your final course grade will be determined by dividing the total points you earn by the total
possible points a student can earn and multiplying by 100. Letter grades equate as follows:
A- 90- 92
Unless otherwise noted, all papers must conform to APA style, which is described in detail in the
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7thed.). Neatness, legibility, and
proficiency in English expression will be judged on all written work. Graded assignments will take
into consideration spelling, mechanics, and usage. If you need assistance with your writing, the
Writing Center is available to support you. Other online APA Style resources can be found on the
Please note that NO ASSIGNMENTS will be accepted after the last scheduled class meeting.
NO EXCEPTIONS (unless plans for a deferred grade were made prior to the last class
meeting). Grades are posted on Canvas throughout the semester so that you can monitor
your progress throughout the duration of the course and can make changes in your study
habits accordingly. Any opportunities for extra credit will be offered DURING the semester,
not after final exams are over. I advise you to take advantage of any extra credit
opportunities when they are offered, even if you feel you don’t need extra credit.
(***Subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.***)
WEEK DATES CHAPTER TOPICS
1 August 25
Abnormal Psychology: Past and Present
2 September 1
Models of Abnormality
3 September 8
3 Clinical Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment
4 September 15
4 Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive DO
5 September 22
5 Disorders of Trauma and Stress
*Topic for Case Conceptualization/Application
Paper Submission for Approval due
6 September 29
Depressive and Bipolar Disorders
7 October 6
8 Disorders Featuring Somatic Symptoms
8 October 13
9 Eating Disorders
9 October 20
10 Substance Use Disorders
10 October 27
11 Sexual Disorders and Gender Variations
11 November 3
12 November 10
13 Personality Disorders
13 November 17
14 Disorders Common in Childhood and Adolescence
14 November 24
***No classes this week.***
15 December 1
15 Disorders of Aging and Cognition
*Case Conceptualization/Application Paper Due
16 December 8
16 Law, Society, and the Mental Health Profession
TBD FINAL EXAM
Remote learning certainly has a relaxed feel to it. However, class meetings on Zoom are still
subjected to the same behavioral expectations as in-person class meetings. Below are a few
reminders to follow during the semester to ensure a respectful, professional virtual classroom
1. Present yourself on a professional manner. Dress appropriately. Comb your hair. If you decide
to wear pajama bottoms, make sure that you remain seated.
2. Be aware of your surroundings. Participants can see everything behind you. Try to keep your
environment straightened up to lessen distractions. If possible, set up in a low-traffic area of your
home. If your computer allows, consider using a virtual background – just make sure it’s
professional and appropriate.
3. Mute your mic when not speaking. Background noise, whether a dog barking, baby crying,
passing train, etc. is very distracting.
4. Position your camera properly.
5. If you have to get up for any reason (especially to go to the bathroom – there’s been countless
unfortunate tales of people bringing their computers with them), mute your video camera. Again, a
tour of your home is very distracting to participants.
6. If you have something to say, depending on the class size, raise your hand physically or
electronically. Keep in mind that in larger class sizes, students will appear on several pages, so I
may not see you raise your hand if you are on page 2+ or of I am sharing my screen. However, I can
see your electronic hand raised on the participant list.
7. Avoid multitasking.
8. Avoid eating. Taking a sip of water or coffee is fine – just make sure your mute your mic.
BE RESPECTFUL AND POLITE.
I am using this as a tool to determine your grades for discussions. I will give you a grade in each
category, then average the grades to determine your overall discussion grade for the module.
Category 25 point 18 point 8 point 0 point Grade
relate to the main
topic and add new
concepts, info. They
relate to the main
provide at least 1
relate to the
main topic. No
little or nothing
to do with the
main topic or
enhance the critical
about issues and
questioning of self
thinking, but do
from others but
do not show
No response to
members of the
to other members
of the online
interact with or
respond to other
members of the
to the main
question of the
Language Postings consistently
minimum # of
This rubric adapted from rubric developed by Amy Finch PhD and Liane Connelly PhD, RN 12/01
Fort Hays State University
ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY PAPER GRADING RUBRIC
(The Psychology Department at San José State University is acknowledged for the basic structure of this form.)
CATEGORY EXCELLENT GOOD ACCEPTABLE UNACCEPTABLE
Introduction 10 point 7.5 point 5 points 2.5 point
Strong introduction of
topic’s key question(s),
delineates subtopics to
be reviewed. Specific
Conveys topic and
subtopics to be
Conveys topic, but not
Describes subtopics to be
reviewed. General theses
Does not adequately convey
topic. Does not describe
subtopics to be reviewed.
Lacks adequate theses
10 points 7.5 points 5 points 2.5 point
All material clearly
related to subtopic, main
integration of material
within subtopics. Strong
subtopics, and main
All material clearly
related to subtopic,
main topic and
subtopics, and main
Most material clearly
related to subtopic, main
topic. Material may not
be organized within
subtopics. Attempts to
provide variety of
Little evidence material is
logically organized into topic,
subtopics or related to topic.
Many transitions are unclear
Support 30 points 20 points 15 points 10 point
Strong peer- reviewed
research based support
selected to support
acceptable but not peer-
Few sources supporting
thesis. Sources insignificant
for thesis. Clearly
examples of character’s
behaviors to support the
thesis with some
research in support
of thesis. Provides
some examples, but
not enough to
(evidence) based. No
specific examples of
behavior to justify
Conclusion 10 points 7.5points 5 points 2.5 points
Strong review of key
integration with thesis
discussion of impact of
the researched material
Strong review of
Review of key
integration with thesis
impact of researched
material on topic.
Does not summarize evidence
with respect to thesis
Does not discuss the impact
of researched material on
15 point 10 point 5 points 2 points
The paper is free of
grammatical errors and
spelling & punctuation.
or spelling &
punctuation are rare
and do not detract
from the paper.
Very few grammatical,
spelling or punctuation
errors interfere with
reading the paper.
Grammatical errors or
spelling & punctuation
substantially detract from the
APA Style 15 points 10 points 5 point 2 points
No errors in
APA style. Scholarly
style. Writing is flowing
and easy to follow.
Rare errors in APA
style that do not
detract from the
style. Writing has
of unclear passages.
Errors in APA style are
noticeable. Word choice
occasionally informal in
tone. Writing has a few
awkward or unclear
Errors in APA style detract
substantially from the paper.
Word choice is informal in
tone. Writing is choppy, with
many awkward or unclear
10 points 7.5 points 10 points 5 point
All references and
citations are correctly
written and present.
citations missing or
Two references or
citations missing or
Reference and citation errors
detract significantly from
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