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Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive Exam

1. Research Methods

Propose a correlation study and an experimental study. Identify the research question/hypothesis, independent and dependent variables and at least two potential confounding variables. Note how you would control for the confounding variables

Correlation studies

The main objective of a correlation study is to assess the relationship that exists between various variables, of which there are three possible outcomes in such study. In addition, correlation studies are used in determining the specific variables that have a relationship and the nature of their relationship (Weiner & Schinka, 2003). The outcomes can be positive correlation, negative correlation and no correlation (Howitt & Cramer, 2008).  It is important to note that it does not imply that there is a casual relationship if two variables are correlated. Therefore, it is imperative to differentiate correlation and causation when carrying out correlational studies. A correlation coefficient is used to evaluate the correlation strength and it varies from -1 to +1. A positive correlation implies that both variables under study increase and decrease simultaneously. Negative correlation implies that an increase in one variable results to a decrease in the other variable. No correlation implies that there is no relationship between the variables under study (Breakwell, 2006). The following is a proposal of a correlational study.

Correlational study: Drinking and involvement in domestic violence

This study aims to determine the relationship that exists between drinking and ones involvement in domestic violence (Breakwell, 2006). The study will assess the cases of domestic violence and determine whether they occurred as a result of drinking.

Research question: does drinking play a significant role in increasing the cases of domestic violence in the United States?

The independent variables in this correlation study are:

  1. The number of households

The dependent variables in this study are:

  1. Cases of drinking within the households
  2. The number of cases of domestic violence as a  result of drinking

The confounding variables in this correlational study include:

  1. The socio-economic status of the households
  2. Psychiatric problems within the households
  3. The nature of relationship within the domestic set up.

The confounding variables will be controlled by conducting a prior analysis of the nature of the households and any previous cases of domestic violence within the household. In addition, the study will only be based on instances of domestic violence whereby the victims or the perpetrators are under the influence of alcohol.

Experimental studies          

The main objective behind experimental studies is to draw a conclusion regarding the effect that changes in variable can imply on another variable (Breakwell, 2006). It typically involves the manipulation of the variables under study, and comparing the results with control variables, which have not been manipulated (Weiner & Schinka, 2003). The following is a proposal of an experimental study.

Experimental study: to determine the effectiveness of Cognitive behavior Therapy on rehabilitation of Criminal offenders

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is one of the intervention strategies that can be used in behavior rectification among criminals. The aim of the study is determine the effectiveness of using Cognitive Behavior Therapy in behavior rectification among criminal offenders

Research Hypothesis:

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is an effective intervention strategy in behavior rectification and reducing cases recidivism among criminal offenders.

The dependent variables in this study are:

  1. The rates of recidivism
  2. The rates of reconviction and re-arrests
  3. Scale of behavior improvement
  4. The effectiveness of Cognitive Behavior Therapy in rehabilitation

The independent variables in this study are:

  1. The number of criminal offenders under study
  2. The control subjects, who are similar criminals who are not undergoing similar treatments

The confounding variables that will be controlled in this case include:

  1. use of other rehabilitation approaches on the subject
  2. subjects completion of the program
  3. Other side outcomes that may result due to the experiment and are not related to the research hypothesis

2. Abnormal/Personality

Cultural standards play a role in the diagnosis of mental illness. Find a diagnosis in the current DSM and describe (in detail) a culture/country where this would not be seen as a disorder and why it would not be seen as a disorder.

The diagnosis of mental illness usually varies, and is subjective to cultural standards; this is because a diagnosis of mental illness under a particular culture may not turn out be a mental illness in another subculture (Fauman, 2002). Such variations in diagnosis in the DSM imply that cultural standards play a significant role in determining diagnosis of a mental illness in a particular region or sub culture. For instance, in many developing countries, social networking plays an integral in healing and recovery of patients, this is because the patient participates in the society, and this is similar to the case in developed countries. In the US, there are racial groups that are often diagnosed with cases of Schizophrenia compared to other racial groupings. The implication of this is that there is a connection between societal factors and the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness (Spitzer, 2002).

An example of a culture bound psychological disorder is the Psychiatric disorder taijin-kyofu-sho (TKS) that is classified under the DSM IV, which is specific to the young Japanese, and rarely witnessed in other countries or communities outside Japan. This psychological disorder is notable by extreme fear of embarrassing and wronging other individuals. In most cases, it is perceived as a social phobia, whereby people who suffer from it avoid social contact at all times. Such culture specific mental disorders are usually exaggerated forms of cultural superstitions and patterns of belief that are specific to that particular culture or country. Individuals suffering from TKS have been reported to fear blushing in front of other people because they are afraid of embarrassing other individuals rather than themselves. In addition, they are reported to talk their thoughts aloud, except in cases whereby they fear offending others. This culture-specific disorder in Japan has a correlation with the Japanese culture in the sense that the culture does not embrace concerns associated with shame (Allen & Ross, 200).

The Diagnosis of TKS in a person includes the individual feeling that his attitude, physical outlook and behaviors are not adequate in social contexts. Because of these feelings, the individual is likely to suffer from emotional distress caused by instances of shame, fear, embarrassment and anxiety, when such a person finds himself ion social circumstances. Moreover, individuals suffering from TKS are constantly worried of their ability to create and sustain long-term relationships; the outcome of this is that they avoid engaging in relationships with other. The fear of embarrassing others also sums the fact that they cannot maintain relationships with other people (Spitzer, 2002).

3. Describe a “typical American” behavior and where and why it might be seen as a disorder

Various American behaviors differentiate Americans from the rest of the world. One of such behavior is the consistent need to maintain body shape, failure to which results to intense psychological problems within the person. Maintaining body shape is usually characterized by the dire need to maintain body weight, which literally means having the lightest weight possible (American Psychiatric Association, w006). This trend is popular among the American women, whereby body image overrides every aspect of personality within an individual. People are increasingly disturbed with the image of their body, with the worst-case scenario involving the fear of gaining weight for an underweight person (Janice, 2005). This American behavior can be perceived as a disorder because a person fears gaining weight, even if one is underweight or becoming fact.

The type of disorder does not spare even those who are already fat because their personality and other social aspects are significantly constrained by their body shaped and weight. As such, it may result to social isolation, mood disorders especially in social circumstances whereby a person finds himself among the “perfect” body shapes and increased depression (American Psychiatric Association, w006). Increased depression normally results because of failed attempts to regulate the body weights and shape, or a case of a person who is already fat and cannot reduce his weight within the desired time. Such psychological effects implies that a person’s personality trait is determined by the body shape, and if one cannot attain the desired body shape, he/she suffers from intrinsic depression and social pressure, while at the same time, being subjected to social discrimination on the account of one’s physical outlook (Watters, 2009).

A significant constraint with this behavior is that it can be easily confused with cases of malnutrition and intense weight loss; however, such achievements are the key objectives of that person. Therefore, helping such a person is significantly difficult owing to the fact that one’s perception of the perfect shape is characterized by malnutrition and underweight instances. In addition, the constant need to acquire the perfect body shape can ultimately results to anxiety disorders (American Psychiatric Association, w006).



Jun 19 2012 , 2:06
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