USQ LogoCourse specification
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

PSY8065 Adult Psychopathology

Semester 1, 2013 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Psychology
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Gavin Beccaria
Moderator: Paul Bramston


Co-requisite: PSY8010


A first skill required by the clinician dealing with adult clients is identification and diagnosis of various psychopathologies to which they are vulnerable. This course aims at providing a comprehensive understanding of such issues.


This course aims to support a problem-solving approach to understanding of common psychological disorders, notably diagnosis but also aetiology, maintaining mechanisms, and broad frameworks of intervention.


On completion of this course, students should be able to demonstrate:

  1. critical awareness of past and current notions of psychological disorders;
  2. proficiency in deciding DSM-IV-TR diagnoses;
  3. proficiency in developing theory-based conceptualizations of psychological disorders;
  4. understanding of connections between models of aetiology and maintenance of, and modes of intervention in, specific psychological disorders.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The Queensland Mental Health Act, DSM-IV-TR, and ICD-10 10.00
2. Anxiety Disorders 15.00
3. Mood disorders 15.00
4. Psychoses 15.00
5. Dissociative disorders 10.00
6. Eating, Sleeping, and Substance-Related disorders 10.00
7. Personality Disorders 15.00
8. Integrating legal, ethical, professional issues, and medications 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • American Psychiatric Association 2000, Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), 4th edn, Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association.
    (Online available to USQ students at
  • Hersen, M., Turner, S. M., Beidel, D. C 2012, Adult psychopathology and diagnosis, 6th edn, J Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Anxiety Panic Hub,
  • Barlow, DH & Durand, VM 2005, Abnormal psychology: an integrative approach, 4th edn, Thomson Wadsworth, Belmont, CA.
  • Endler, NS 1990, Holiday of darkness: a psychologist's journey out of depression, rev edn, Wiley, NY.
  • Hersen, M & Turner, SM (eds) 2007, Adult psychopathology and diagnosis, 5th edn, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.
  • Koocher, GP, Norcross, JC, & Hill, SS 2005, Psychologists' Desk Reference, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford: NY.
  • Lachenmeyer, N 2002, The outsider: a journey through my father's struggle with madness, Hill of Content Publishing, Melbourne.
  • McLean, RW 2003, Recovered not cured: a journey through schizophrenia, Allen and Unwin, Sydney.
    ((see also
  • Van Os, J & McKenna, P 2003, Does schizophrenia exist? Paper No. 12, Institute of Psychiatry, London.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 60.00
Directed Study 52.00
Private Study 50.00
Test 2.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT 35 35 03 May 2013 (see note 1)
VIVA CASE PRESENTATION 35 65 07 Jun 2013 (see note 2)

  1. Due date to be advised by examiner. This written essay will critically examine contemporary definition/diagnosis of a specific DSM-IV-TR disorder as well as development of such conceptualizations, critical review of pertinent research, theories of aetiology, and summary of suggested psychological interventions.
  2. Student will interview an actor simulating a particular disorder. The student will have 65 minutes to conduct a clinical interview and prepare a presentation including a diagnostic formulation to the examiner.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the student's responsibility to participate actively in all scheduled workshops and Web-based activities and to study all course materials, so as to be informed of all course academic and administrative activities and policies, and to maximise his/her chance of meeting the objectives of the course.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the total marks. Students who receive under 70% in the viva will be expected to complete make up work to demonstrate advanced competency, which is required as a clinical psychologist. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course. Successful completion of the course will require a score of at least 70% on the viva. Students who receive a score below 70% in the viva will be required to complete make up work set by the examiner and moderator.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grade will be determined by the addition of the marks obtained on the essay and the examination (viva), weighted as indicated in the Assessment Details.

  6. Examination information:
    The viva is open book. Candidates are allowed to bring any information that will assist with the interview or diagnostic formulation.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within two days if required by the Examiner.

  2. The Faculty will normally only accept assessments that have been written, typed or printed on paper-based media.

  3. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.