Future Research Directions

Introduction
In this unit, you will consider current areas of investigation and research within the field of diagnosis and psychopathology. Throughout the course, you have read articles that have raised questions about the ways in which we define, assess, and study mental disorders in children, adults, couples, and families. You have also examined research studies that have sought to answer some of these questions using a variety of approaches, such as case studies, experimental design, and correlation studies.
One of the current areas of exploration in this field is the development of diagnostic processes that are relevant and appropriate for use in a multicultural society. As you have noted in your discussions, a person’s social and cultural background, gender, age, health, and environment have a significant impact on his or her experience and presentation of mental and emotional distress. In addition, the therapist’s own background, training, biases, and assumptions affect his or her understanding and assessment of clients. You need to continue raising good questions about the strengths and limitations of the various approaches to diagnosis when they are applied to people from diverse backgrounds. As a future mental health professional, you may be contributing to the expanding base of knowledge in this field.
Objectives
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Identify areas to be investigated in the field of psychopathology.
2. Develop research questions and approaches used in the study of psychopathology in a multicultural society.
3. Discuss key learnings from this course and how they will be applied to future work in the field.

Learning Activities
Unit 10 Study 1
Studies Readings
Use your Abnormal Psychology text to complete the following:
• Read Chapter 4, “The Research Endeavor,” pages 82–105.
• Read Chapter 16, “Mental Health and the Law,” pages 462–480.
Optional Readings for Principles of Psychopathology
Unit 1 – Theories of Psychopathology
Articles
Lopez, S. J., Edwards, L. M., Pedrotti, J. T., Prosser, E. C., LaRue, S., Spalitto, S. V., & Ulven, J. C. (2006). Beyond the DSM–IV: Assumptions, alternatives, and alterations. Journal of Counseling and Development, 84(3), 259–267.
Zucker, K. J., & Spitzer, R. L. (2005). Was the gender identity disorder of childhood introduced into DSM–III as a backdoor maneuver to replace homosexuality? A historical note. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 31(1), 31–42.
Discussion 1: 1 page needed with minimum of 250 words and 2 references.
Proposing Research
Chapter 4 of the Abnormal Psychology text presents several examples of the types of research studies that can be designed to investigate questions about the diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology.
For this discussion:
1. Identify one question you would like to see explored about the use of current diagnostic systems in a multicultural society. This could be a question about assessment processes used to diagnose mental disorders, the application of existing diagnostic procedures to certain sociocultural groups, or the understanding of a DSM-5 diagnosis within a particular population. State your question clearly and describe a research method (such as case study, correlational study, epidemiological study, or experimental study) that you would recommend for investigating this question.
2. Locate a current article in the professional literature that is a good example of the type of study that you would find useful as a therapist working with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Provide a brief description of the research design and major findings. How would this article be useful in your own assessment, diagnosis, or treatment planning process with clients?
Discussion 2: 1 page needed with minimum of 250 words and 2 references.
Course Summary and Application
Describe three key learnings you will take from this course. How will you apply these learnings in your work as a counselor or therapist? Be specific and use examples to illustrate your ideas. Include two references from articles you have read during the course that have been particularly interesting or important for you.

 

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