Answer the following questions in the form of paragraph-style essays (no bullet points). Do not afraid to use more than one paragraph in your answers! You must work alone to complete this, but you can use outside materials, such as the text, class readings, notes, and internet sources, to find relevant information. The essays should reflect your work; simply copying sentences or a paragraph from the text or online with a few changed words is plagiarism, and will be penalized as outlined on the syllabus.


Students will complete a total of six essays. I have a suggested word count for each response; most are of similar length (225 – 300 words), but note two questions have somewhat longer word counts (350 – 425 words). Make sure to address all the elements of the question; you will lose points if you only respond to some of the elements. Four questions are worth 6 points; the two questions with longer responses are each worth 9 points. The entire exam is worth 42 points.


You do not need to include a citation for your textbook if you paraphrase from it, but include one if you directly quote from the text. Responses that contain a total of more than one sentence of directly quoted material from any source will be penalized somewhat; I want to see your understanding of the material, not simply that you know where to find a relevant answer. A citation must be included if you paraphrase or directly quote from sources other than the textbook; failure to do so constitutes plagiarism.


Upload your completed essays in a single Word-compatible document (.doc or .docx extension) through Canvas Assignments. Include an underlined header for each question to clearly separate each essay from one another within your document. For example,

Question 1

Student response


Question 2

Student response


You have until 8:00 am on Tuesday, November 10 to upload your exam. Feel free to contact me if you find a question unclear; I’d be happy to clarify what I’m looking for. Good luck!


Compare and contrast the symptoms of major depressive disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymic disorder. In what areas do these three disorders present in similar ways, and what symptoms are different between them? Define any terms that non-professionals would not be familiar with. Don’t just give the DSM-5 criteria for the disorders; explain how these disorders present in your own words. (6 pts; 225 – 275 words)

Read the following case study and use it to answer question 2 that follows.

Janet is a 30-year old mother of three children aged 10, 8, and 5. She had been divorced from her ex-husband David for a little over one year. She was close to completing her bachelor’s degree and hoped to enter law school soon, but had withdrawn from all classes a month prior to her appointment. Her ex-husband David is remarried and lives in a nearby town; he has the children spend the weekend with him once a month.

Janet’s mood had been depressed since her husband had asked for a divorce. She felt sad, discouraged, and lonely. At first, she could cheer herself up by playing with the children or going for a walk, but now nothing is able to lighten her mood. She had lost interest in most activities, was finding even casual reading to be a chore, and had never had enough time to develop hobbies. Her social circle was limited to one neighbor, who Janet felt was becoming aloof and distant. Recently Janet has spent hours brooding about events that led to the divorce, which interfered with her ability to concentrate on her classes and contributed to this semester’s withdrawal. Her withdrawal meant that she was no longer eligible for student aid, and she would need to start repaying her loans in a few months. She felt pessimistic regarding these increased financial burdens as well.

Janet blamed herself for the divorce, although she also resented David and his new wife. She wondered if she had acted selfishly by returning to school, which put an additional strain on their already problematic marriage. Janet tended to blame herself for marital problems that could be seen as simple differences in interests. For example, she blamed herself for not being as interested in sports as David was, and for trying to engage David regarding areas of concern in the relationship. It was difficult for Janet to acknowledge these differences could, in part, be due to David being overly concerned with sports, or him avoiding necessary conversations about their marriage. Instead, Janet saw these as examples of her failures. She also expressed concern that since her first marriage had failed, she would be unable to develop future satisfactory relationships, and that her entire social value as a friend and parent had diminished. (Case adapted from Oltmanns et al., 2015)


You are Janet’s therapist and have diagnosed her with major depressive disorder. Describe one or two psychological interventions that could be used to treat Janet. Your chosen treatments should be discussed in either the textbook or lectures and specifically tailored for depression – don’t just mention general areas often addressed in therapy. Give a brief description of the intervention(s), and then some specific examples using Janet’s case history that the intervention(s) would target for change. (6 pts; 225 – 275 words)


Discuss the etiology of substance use disorders. Mention and give details on specific factors that were discussed in your textbook or in lecture, and review factors at all three levels of the biopsychosocial model. Given that different substances activate different neurotransmitters, why do researchers believe that there are some shared biological contributions that play a role regardless of the specific substance that is misused? (9 pts; 350 – 425 words)

NOTE: Given the word count, you don’t have to go into detail on every single factor mentioned in the text and lectures. My sample answer was 375 words and discussed most, but not all, of the etiological factors mentioned in lecture. Do make sure factors at each of the three biopsychosocial levels are discussed.



Review, compare and contrast the etiology of antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. Focus your analysis on biological elements and elements related to early family environment (I classify these as social in the biopsychosocial framework) discussed in your textbook or in lecture. Summarize the important biological and social/family causes for each of the two personality disorders, pointing out influences that are common to both, as well as those that are more relevant to just one of the disorders. (9 pts; 350 – 425 words)



Compare and contrast the symptoms of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. In what areas do these two disorders present in similar ways, and what symptoms are different between them? In your comparison, provide some examples of the dysfunctional thoughts typically seen in the disorders. Define any terms that non-professionals would not be familiar with. Don’t just give the DSM-5 criteria for the disorders; explain how these disorders present in your own words. (6 pts; 225 – 275 words)


Psychologists working with clients often have to summarize scientific research findings using language that is understandable to non-experts. To develop skill in this area, summarize either class reading 3 (Karg, K., et al., 2011) or reading 4 (Segal, Z.V., et al., 2010). The summary should be written in non-technical language. For examples, look at websites that report scientific research for interested non-professionals (e.g., ScienceDaily, Medical Xpress, Psychology Today).

Summarize the main points of the study without advanced jargon. Assume your readers are interested in psychology, but have little scientific training, so explain unfamiliar concepts in plain terms. Given the word count, you won’t have space to get into detailed description of any area, so