Individual Differences and Abnormal Psychology

In general, the most broadly used classification system used by the psychologist in general and abnormal psychologists, in particular, is the medical model as created by the DSMV IV (Carr, 2001). This system has the advantage of being easily understood across a wide spectrum of disciplines both medical, neuropsychological and psychological. This system also allows the therapist to have some guidelines for the prediction of stages, treatment and care planning about the diagnosis has been categorized.

In this model, it is assumed that the various abnormal behaviors that people with a particular syndrome display are symptoms of a specific disease with a discrete cause, a unique course, and prognosis, and for which specific physical treatment will ultimately be identified. (Carr, 2001, p. 178)

The DSMV IV has a distinct advantage over the previous medical models in that it uses a Multiaxial system regarding the diagnosis of mental disorders. This at least allows a wider range of criteria to be assessed and a broader spectrum of treatment and diagnosis becomes available. The fives axis are Clinical Syndrome, which contains major classification such as schizophrenia, etc.. Personality disorders such as antisocial, attachment, etc.. Physical disorder. Psychosocial stressor such as environmental, familial concerns. and a Global Assessment of the overall level of function of the patient (Carr, 2001).

While the medical model has prevailed there have been attempts to use other systems to assist in the categorization of features in abnormal psychology. Unfortunately only one has been useful in helping to develop the Multiaxial Model now in place in the DSMV IV and this is the Dimensional model. This model would take into account certain nuances that the strict categorization model may miss and is more dependent on the individual and personal histories of the patient rather than a set of exact criteria.