AZA3135 - Abnormal behaviour - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Social Science

Chief examiner(s)

Ms Daniella Rafaely


Ms Skye Hanekom

Unit guides


South Africa

  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)
  • Summer semester B 2019 (On-campus)


AZA2015 and AZA2455 and AZA2490 and AZA2495


AZA3360, AZA3462, AZA3465


PSY2011, PSY2031, PSY3032


The unit may be offered as part of the Summer Arts ProgramSummer Arts Program (


This unit aims to give students a broad view of psychopathology (abnormal behaviour) by studying different theoretical perspectives in different cultural contexts. Topics to be covered include: theory; historical influences; specific psychopathologies; assessment, treatment methods, and legal issues. The unit will critically explore dominant taxonomies of mental and psychiatric illness notably the DSM system of classification. The knowledge acquired in this field is used by clinical practitioners to detect, assess, and treat abnormal patterns of functioning.


On completion of this unit, the students will be able to:

  1. relate their knowledge of personality, biological processes and human development to psychopathology.
  2. contrast historical and current major theoretical perspectives of psychopathology.
  3. compare methods of assessing psychological disorders.
  4. describe the main systems of classifying disorders.
  5. explain the way the theoretical perspective adopted by a clinician can influence the manner of interpreting the development and treatment of a psychological disorder.
  6. discuss the advantages and disadvantages of classifying abnormal behaviour.
  7. discuss the major types of psychological disorders and the major therapeutic approaches to psychopathology.
  8. critically evaluate previous research and psychological report writing.


Within semester assessment: 50% + Exam: 50%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study