I. One-Dimensional models of mental disorders Models are analogies that scientists use to describe things they cannot directly observe. Among the models that psychologists use is the medical model, which portrays psychological disorders as diseases or the psychosocial model. This chapter will introduce the multi-path model. The case of Steven V. is presented, which describes a college student suffering from depression and violent fantasies. The biological model suggests that abnormal behavior is caused by biological factors, especially involving genetic material and the brain. Psychological explanations such as Sigmund Freud’s psychodynamic model emphasizes early childhood experiences. Behavioral explanations can be traced to inappropriate learning. Social explanations look at the social environment. Sociocultural explanations look at cultural factors to explain behavior.
II. A multi-path model of mental disorders. What, then, is the “best” way to conceptualize the causes of mental disorders? An integrative and interacting multi-path model is a way of viewing disorders and their causes. The multi-path model is not a theory, but a way of looking at the variety and complexity of contributors to mental disorders. The etiology of mental disorders can be subsumed under four dimensions. Dimension One: Biological Factors This dimension includes genetics, brain anatomy, biochemical imbalances, central nervous system functioning, autonomic nervous system reactivity, etc. Dimension Two: Psychological Factors This dimension includes personality, cognition, emotions, learning, stress-coping, self-esteem, self-efficacy, values, developmental history, etc. Dimension Three: Social Factors This dimension includes family, relationships, social support, belonging, love, marital status, community, etc. Dimension Four: Sociocultural Factors This dimension includes race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, culture, etc....