Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Psychological Pathology

  • Maxine Holmqvist
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_1174



The scientific study of psychological disorders and their causes.


Psychological pathology is the study of the causes, components, course, and consequences of psychological disorders. These are characterized by abnormality and dysfunction.


Psychological disorders are defined by diagnostic criteria, like those outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000) or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Conditions (ICD; World Health Organization, 2007). These criteria are composed of “marker symptoms,” or thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors identified as abnormal for a variety of reasons (e.g., because they cause distress, disadvantage, or disability or are highly inflexible or irrational; Stein et al., 2010). Symptoms can be understood as qualitatively different from normal or as extreme variants of...

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References and Readings

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, text revision (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. Stein, D. J., Phillips, K. A., Bolton, D., Fulford, K. W. M., Sadler, J. Z., & Kendler, K. S. (2010). What is a mental/psychiatric disorder? from DSM-IV to DSM-V. Psychological Medicine, 40, 1759–1765.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. World Health Organization. (2007). International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, version for 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2011 from http://apps.who.int/classifications/apps/icd/icd10online/

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Health PsychologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada