Theoretical Psychopathology (HPSC 521)

This course is designed to provide an introduction to contemporary approaches to studying mental disorders. Coverage of material will be selective rather than comprehensive. We will briefly review some of the theoretical approaches guiding contemporary research and will examine several of the constructs that are currently considered promising related to a few of the disorders receiving substantial empirical study within clinical psychology. Along the way, we will examine a variety of different methods available for addressing relevant questions.

Emphases will be on: 1) introducing you to promising theories, constructs, and methods within clinical psychology; 2) increasing your comfort with reading and evaluating primary empirical articles; 3) honing your reasoning skills for using theories to generate predictions and using empirical findings to evaluate theories; 4) honing your skills for comparing and contrasting different theoretical perspectives.  Because new findings are always changing our appreciation of old findings, this course is not intended to provide you with final answers regarding causes of or mechanisms underlying psychopathology. However, this course should provide you with preliminary vocabulary and concepts with which to read the empirical literature yourself.


Syllabus (As of 5/15/2013)

Syllabus (As of 6/5/2013)


1.  Welcome to the new web site (now in line with the updated syllabus).

2.  There is a slight issue with Molly's article for 6/26.  First, the year was incorrect.  Second, there's a pdf.  

3.  Week 9 appeared twice on the syllabus.  The most important personality articles from the second week 9 have been moved to week 8.

4.  On the depression week, some links about Nolen-Hoeksema have been posted.

5.  Added two optional pieces of info to Week 1.

6.  Updated Week 9 with Antisocial Personality Disorder materials

7.  Posted info on the Final Exam

8.  Added an optional reading on bipolar disorder.

Schedule Updated:  6/12/2013

Week 1:  May 29, 2013  

Overview of Course; Theories of Psychopathology I:  Fundamentals and Genetic and Environmental Perspective

  • Theoretical Psychopathology
    • Meehl, P. E. (1978). Theoretical risks and tabular asterisks: Sir Karl, Sir Ronald, and the slow progress of soft psychology. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology46, 806-834. (pdf)
    • Platt, J. R. (1964). Strong inference. Science146, 347-353(pdf)
    • Kendler, K. S., Prescott, C. A., Myers, J., & Neale, M. C. (2003). The structure of genetic and environmental risk factors for common psychiatric and substance use disorders in men and women. Archives of General Psychiatry60, 929-937.(pdf)
    • Wakefield, J. C. (1992). The concept of mental disorder. American Psychologist, 47, 378-388. (pdf)
    • Lilienfeld, S. O., & Marino, L. (1995). Mental disorder as a Roschian concept: A critique of Wakefield's "harmful dysfunction" analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 104, 411-420. (pdf)
    • Borsboom, D., Cramer, A. O. J., Schmittmann, V. D., Epskamp, S., & Waldorp, L. J. (2011). The small world of psychopathology. PLoS ONE11, e27407. (pdf)

Week 2:  June 5, 2013

Theories of Psychopathology II:  Cognitive, Psychodynamic, Neuropsychological, and Developmental Perspectives

  • Davidson, R. J. (1996). Cerebral asymmetry, emotion, and affective style.  In R. J. Davidson & K. Hugdahl (Eds.), Brain asymmetry (pp. 361-387). Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press. (pdf)
  • Kendall, P. C., & Dobson, K. S. (1993). On the nature of cognition and its role in psychopathology. In K. S. Dobson & P.C. Kendall (Eds.), Psychopathology and cognition (pp. 3-17). San Diego: Academic Press. (pdf)
  •  Rothbart, M. K., & Ahadi, S. A. (1994). Temperament and the development of personality Journal of Abnormal Psychology103, 55-66.(pdf)


  • Willerman, L., & Cohen, D. B. (1990). Ch. 6: Psychodynamic Facet. In Psychopathology (pp. 145-172). New York: McGraw-Hill. (pdf)
  • Willerman, L., & Cohen, D. B. (1990). Ch. 8: Neurophysiological Facet. In Psychopathology (pp.199-233). New York: McGraw-Hill. (pdf)

Presentation (Cassandra): 

  • Rutter, M., Moffitt, T. E., & Caspi, A. (2006). Gene–environment interplay and psychopathology: multiple varieties but real effects. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry47, 226 - 261(pdf)

Week 3:  June 12, 2013 (notes)

Schizophrenia I:  Overview; Physiological and Neuropsychological Perspectives 

  • Review chapter: Sanislow, C. A. & Carson, R. C. (2001).  Schizophrenia: A critical examination.  In H. E. Adams & P. B. Sutker (Eds.) Comprehensive handbook of psychopathology, 3rd ed. (pp. 403-441).  New York: Plenum. (pdf)
  • Byrne, M., Clafferty, B. A., Cosway, R., Grant, E., Hodges, A., Whalley, H. C., Lawrie, S. M., Owens,D. G. C., & Johnstone, E. C. (2003). Neuropsychology, genetic liability, and psychotic symptoms in those at high risk of schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology112, 38‑48. (pdf)
  • Wexler, B. E., Stevens, A., Bowers, A. A., Sernyak, M. J., & Goldman‑Rakic, P. S. (1998). Word and tone working memory deficits in schizophrenia.  Archives of General Psychiatry55, 1093‑1096. (pdf)
  • Lewis, D. A., & Levitt, P. (2002). Schizophrenia as a disorder of neurodevelopment. Annual Review of Neuroscience25, 409-432.  (pdf)

Presentation (Hyun-Soo):

  • Trippe, R. H., Hewig, J., Heydel, C., Hecht, H., & Miltner, W. H. R. (2007). Attentional blink to threatening pictures in spider phobics: Electrophysiology and behavior. Brain Research, 1148, 149-160.(pdf)

Presentation (Jenny):

  • Giesler R.B, Josephs R.A, & Swann, W.B., Jr (1996). Self-verification in clinical depression: The desire for negative evaluation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105, 358–368. (pdf)


  • Kinney, D. K., & Jacobsen, B. (1978). Environmental factors in schizophrenia: New adoption study evidence. In L. C. Wynne, R. L., Cromwell, & S. Matthysse (Eds.), The nature of schizophrenia (pp. 38-51). New York: Wiley. (pdf)
  • Keshavan, M. S., Tandon, R., Boutros, N. N., & Nasrallah, H. A. (2008). Schizophrenia, "just the facts": What we know in 2008 Part 3: Neurobiology. Schizophrenia Research,  106, 89-107. (pdf)

Week 4:  June 19, 2013  (notes)

Schizophrenia II:  Cognitive and Affective Perspectives

NOTE: It is recommended that you read Strauss (2001) before reading the other articles.

  • Strauss, M. E. (2001). Demonstrating specific cognitive deficits: A psychometric perspective. Journal of Abnormal Psychology110, 6-14. (pdf)
  • Bruder, G. E. (1996). Cerebral laterality and psychopathology: Perceptual and event-related potential asymmetries in affective and schizophrenic disorders. In R. J. Davidson & K. Hugdahl (Eds.), Brain asymmetry (pp. 661-91). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (pdf)
  • Kring, A. M., Germans Gard, M., & Gard, D. E. (2011). Emotion deficits in schizophrenia: Timing matters. Journal of Abnormal Psychology120, 79-87.(pdf)
  • Davis, P. J., & Gibson, M. G. (2000). Recognition of posed and genuine facial expressions of emotion in paranoid and nonparanoid schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology109, 445-450. (pdf)
  • López, S. R., Nelson Hipke, K., Polo, A. J., Jenkins, J. H, Karno, M., Vaughn, C., & Snyder, K. S. (2004). Ethnicity, expressed emotion, attributions, and course of schizophrenia: Family warmth matters.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology113, 428‑439.(pdf)
  • Herbener, E. S., Rosen, C., Khine, T., & Sweeney, J. A. (2007). Failure of positive but not negative emotional valence to enhance memory in schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology116, 43-55 .(pdf)

Presentation (Will):

  • Mathews, J. R., & Barch, D. M. (2010). Emotion responsivity, social cognition, and functional outcome in schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 119(1), 50-59. (pdf)

Presentation (Tarra):

  • Blanchard, J. J., Bellack, A. S., & Mueser, K T. (1994). Affective and social-behavioral correlates of physical and social anhedonia in schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology103, 719-728.(pdf)

Midterm Exam:  Here

Week 5:  June 26, 2013 (notes)

Affective Disorders

Affective Disorders I:  Overview and Cognitive Perspectives

  • Review chapter:  Rehm, L. P., Wagner, A., & Ivens-Tyndall, C. (2001). Mood disorders: Unipolar and bipolar.   In H. E. Adams & P. B. Sutker (Eds.)Comprehensive handbook of psychopathology, 3rd ed.  (pp. 277-308).  New York: Plenum. (pdf)
  • Alloy, L. B., Abramson, L. Y., Whitehouse, W. G., Hogan, M. E., Panzarella, C., Rose, D. T. (2006). Prospective incidence of first onsets and recurrences of depression in individuals at high and low cognitive risk for depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology115, 145-156.  (pdf)
  • Gotlib, I. H., Kasch, K, L., Traill, S., Joormann, J., Arnow, B. A., & Johnson, S. L. (2004). Coherence and specificity of information-processing biases in depression and social phobia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology113, 386-398.  (pdf)
  • Stewart, S. M., Kennard, B. D., Lee, P. W. H., Hughes, C. W., Mayes, T. L., Emslie, G. J., & Lewinsohn, P. M. (2004). A cross‑cultural investigation of cognitions and depressive symptoms in adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology113, 248‑257.  (pdf)
  • Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. (1991). Tripartite model of anxiety and depression: Psychometric evidence and taxometric implication. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100(3), 316-336.(pdf)

Presentation (Christina):

  • Nusslock, R., Shackman, A. J., Harmon-Jones, E., Alloy, L. B., Coan, J. A., & Abramson, L. Y. (2011). Cognitive vulnerability and frontal brain asymmetry: Common predictors of first prospective depressive episode. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120(2), 497-503. (pdf)

Presentation (Molly):

  •  Bilsky, S. A., Cole, D. A., Dukewich, T. L., Martin, N. C., Sinclair, K. R., Tran, C. V., Roeder, K. M., Felton, J. W., Tilghman-Osborne, C., Weitlauf, A. S., & Maxwell, M. A. (2013). Does supportive parenting mitigate the longitudinal effects of peer victimization on depressive thoughts and symptoms in children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122(2), 406-419.  (pdf)

Midterm Exam Due

Week 6:  July 3, 2013   Class Cancelled

Week 7:  July 10, 2013 (notes)

Affective Disorders II:  Neuropsychological and Interpersonal/ Motivational Perspectives  

Neuropsychological Function:

  • Bruder, G. E., Stewart, J. W., Mercier, M. A., Agosti, V., Leite, P., Donovan, S., & Quitkin, F. M.(1997). Outcome of cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression: Relation to hemispheric dominance for verbal processing. Journal of Abnormal Psychology106, 138-144. (pdf)
  • Keller, J., Nitschke, J. B., Bhargava, T., Deldin, P. J., Gergen, J. A., Miller, G. A.,  & Heller, W. (2000). Neuropsychological differentiation of depression and anxiety. Journal of Abnormal Psychology109, 3-10. (pdf)

Interpersonal/ Motivational Processes:

  • Joiner, T. E. (1995). The price of soliciting and receiving negative feedback:  Self-verification theory as a vulnerability to depression theory. Journal of Abnormal Psychology104, 364-372. (pdf)
  • Allen, N.B., de L. Horne, D. J., & Trinder, J. (1996). Sociotropy, autonomy, and dysphoric emotional responses to specific classes of stress:  A psychophysiological evaluation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology105, 25-33.  (pdf)
  • Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1991). Responses to depression and their effects on duration of depressive episodes. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100(4), 569-582. (pdf) (link) (link)
  • Lyon, H. M., Startup, M., & Bentall, R. P. (1999). Social cognition and the manic defense: Attributions, selective attention, and self-schema in bipolar affective disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology108, 273-282. (pdf)
  • Cutrona, C. E., Russell, D. W., Brown, P. A., Clark, L. A., Hessling, R. M., & Gardner, K. A. (2005). Neighborhood context, personality, and stressful life events as predictors of depression among African American women. Journal of Abnormal Psychology114, 3‑15. (pdf)

Presentation (Caroline):

  • Najmi, S., & Amir, N. (2010). The effect of attention training on a behavioral test of contamination fears in individuals with subclinical obsessive-compulsive symptoms.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 119(1), 136-142. (pdf)

Presentation (Eve):

  • Kaplow, J. B., & Widom, C. S. (2007). Age of onset of child maltreatment predicts long-term mental health outcomes.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116(1), 176-187. (pdf)

Optional (Neuropsychological):

  • Bruder, G. E. (1996). Cerebral laterality and psychopathology: Perceptual and event-related potential asymmetries in affective and schizophrenic disorders. In R. J. Davidson & K. Hugdahl (Eds.), Brain asymmetry (pp. 665-691). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (pdf)
  • Johnson, S. L., Edge, M. D., Holmes, M. K., & Carver, C. S. (2012). The behavioral activation system and mania. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 8, 243-267. (pdf)

Week 8:  July 17, 2013 (notes)

Anxiety Disorders and Repressive Defensiveness: Overview and Selected Perspectives 

Anxiety Disorders:

  • Review chapter: Rapee, R. M., & Barlow, D. H. (1993). Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and the phobias.   In H. E. Adams & P. B. Sutke (Eds.)Comprehensive handbook of psychopathology, 3rd ed.  (pp. 131-154).  New York: Plenum.(pdf)
  • Gorman, J. M., Kent, J. M., Sullivan, G. M., & Coplan, J. D. (2000). Neuroanatomical hypothesis of panic disorder, revised. American Journal of Psychiatry,157, 493-505.(pdf)
  • Öhman, A., & Soares, J. J. F. (1994). Unconscious anxiety: Phobic responses to masked stimuli. Journal of Abnormal Psychology103, 231-240.  (pdf)

Repressive Defensiveness:

  • Weinberger, D., Schwartz, G., & Davidson, R. (1979). Low-anxious, high-anxious, and repressive coping styles: Psychometric patterns and behavioral and physiological responses to stress.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology88, 369-380. (pdf)
  • Mendolia, M., Moore, J.,  & Tesser, A. (1996). Dispositional and situational determinants of repression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology70, 856-867. (pdf)
  • Myers, L. B. (2010). The importance of the repressive coping style: findings from 30 years of research. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 23, 3-17.(pdf)
Personality Disorders
  • Livesley, J. N. (2008). Research trends and directions in the study of personality disorder. Psychiatric Clinics of North America31, 545-559. (pdf)
  • Review chapter: Adams, H. E., Bernat, J. A., & Luscher, K. A. (2004).  Borderline personality disorder: An overview. In H. E. Adams & P. B. Sutker (Eds.) Comprehensive handbook of psychopathology: 3rd edition (pp. 491-507).  New York: Plenum.  (pdf)
  • Trull, T. J. (2001). Structural relations between borderline personality disorder features and putative etiological correlates. Journal of Abnormal Psychology,110, 471-481.(pdf)
  • Selby, E. A., Anestis, M. D., Bender, T. W., & Joiner, T. E., Jr. (2009). An exploration of the emotional cascade model in borderline personality disorder.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology118, 375-387.(pdf)
  • Review chapter:  Catanzaro, S. J. (2000). Mood regulation and suicidal behavior. In T. E. Joiner, Jr., & M. D. Rudd (Eds.), Suicide science: Expanding the boundaries (pp. 81-103). Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers. (pdf)

Assignment Due Date:  Paper due on Wednesday at 5:00 P.M.

Presentation (Melanie):

  • Korfine, L., & Hooley, J. M. (2000). Directed forgetting of emotional stimuli in borderline personality disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109, 214-222. (pdf)

Presentation (Drew):

  • Adams, H. E., Wright, L. W., Jr., & Lohr, B. A. (1996). Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal?  Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105(3), 440-445. (pdf)
Final Exam:  Here (NOW AVAILABLE)

Week 9:  July 24, 2013 (Notes Part 1, Notes Part 2)

Psychopathy I: Overview, Learning, Cognition, Emotion


  • Cleckley, H. (1988).  Stanley. The mask of sanity, 5th edition (pp. 174-187).  Saint Louis, C.V. Mosby. (pdf)
  • Cleckley, H. (1988).  A clinical profile. The mask of sanity, 5th edition (pp. 337-364).  Saint Louis, C. V. Mosby.(pdf)

Learning Perspectives on Psychopathy:

  • Schmauk, F. J. (1970).  Punishment, arousal, and avoidance learning in sociopaths.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology76, 325-335.(pdf)
  • Newman, J. P., Patterson, C. M., & Kosson, D. S. (1987). Response perseveration in psychopaths.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology96, 145-148.(pdf)


  • Review chapter: Hiatt, K. D., & Newman, J. P. (2006). Understanding psychopathy:  The cognitive side. In C. Patrick (Ed.) Handbook of psychopathy (pp. 334-352). New York: Guilford.(pdf)


  • Williamson, S., Harpur, T. J., & Hare, R. D. (1991). Abnormal processing of affective words by psychopaths. Psychophysiology28, 260-273.(pdf)
  • Levenston, G. K., Patrick, C. J., Bradley, M. M., & Lang, P. J. (2000). The psychopath as observer: Emotion and attention in picture processing. Journal of Abnormal Psychology109, 373-385. (pdf)
  • Blair, R. J. R., Mitchell, D. G. V., Richell, R. A., Kelly, S., Leonard, A., Newman, C., & Scott, S. K. (2002). Turning a deaf ear to fear: Impaired recognition of vocal affect in psychopathic individuals. Journal of Abnormal Psychology111, 682‑686. (pdf)
Final Exam Due


If you took this course during the school year instead of during the summer, there would be more weeks of material.  I cannot fit everything in during the summer and instead of attempting to fit everything in and failing, I’m omitting some important information.  The following two weeks would be covered during the school year.  If, some how, we manage to get ahead, this is the material I’ll be including:

Week 10

Psychopathy I:  Neuropsychological Perspectives

Neuropsychological Perspectives:

  • LaPierre, D., Braun, C. M. J., & Hodgins, S. (1995). Ventral frontal deficits in psychopathy: Neuropsychological test findings. Neuropsychologia33, 139-151.(pdf)
  • Mitchell, D. G. V., Colledge, E., Leonard, A., & Blair, R. J. R. (2002). Risky decisions and response reversal: Is there evidence of orbito‑frontal cortex dysfunction in individuals? Neuropsychologia40, 2013‑2022.(pdf)


  • Harpur, T. J., Hare, R. D., & Hakstian, A. R. (1989).  Two-factor conceptualization of psychopathy:  Construct validity and assessment implications. Psychological Assessment1, 6-17.(pdf)

Week 11

Psychopathy II: Cognitive and Affective Perspectives

  • Suchy, Y., & Kosson, D. S. (2005). State‑dependent executive deficits among psychopathic offenders: Implications for psychopathy research and clinical neuropsychology. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society11, 311‑321.(pdf)

Cognition and Emotion:

  • Newman, J. P., Curtin, J. J., Bertsch, J. D., & Baskin-Sommers, A. R. (2010). Attention moderates the fearlessness of psychopathic offenders. Biological Psychiatry67, 66-70. (pdf)

Here are some optional readings from which people may choose:

1:     Shankman, S.A., Klein, D.N., Tenke, C.E., & Bruder, G.E. (2003).  Reward sensitivity in depression: A biobehavioral study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116, 95–104.  (pdf)

2.     Pauls, C., & Stemmler, G. (2003). Repressive and defensive coping during fear and anger. Emotion, 3(3), 284-302.  (pdf)

3:     Kuo, J. R., & Linehan, M. M. (2009). Disentangling emotion processes in borderline personality disorder: Physiological and self-reported assessment of biological vulnerability, baseline intensity, and reactivity to emotionally evocative stimuli. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118(3), 531-544.  (pdf)


Relevant links that come up in class

  • An recent symposium on Meehl (including three of our authors from Week 1)
  • Ian Hacking, a noted philosopher, has written extensively on mental illness and has a view on DSM-5 here
Organizations (non-comprehensive)
Journals (non-comprehensive)