PAST PAPERS: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY: AQA A-LEVEL PSYCHOLOGY RESOURCES
PSYCHOLOGY AQA A LEVEL UNIT 1: 7182/1
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CHARACTERISTICS OF DISORDERS
- The behavioural, emotional and cognitive characteristics of phobias, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
PHOBIAS – BEHAVIOURAL EXPLANATION & TREATMENT
- The behavioural approach to explaining and treating phobias: the two-process model, including classical and operant conditioning; systematic desensitisation, including relaxation and use of hierarchy; flooding
DEPRESSION – COGNITIVE EXPLANATION & TREATMENT
- The cognitive approach to explaining and treating depression: Beck’s negative triad and Ellis’s ABC model; cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), including challenging irrational thoughts
OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD) – BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATION & TREATMENT
- The biological approach to explaining and treating OCD: genetic and neural explanations; drug therapy
DEFINITIONS OF ABNORMALITY
- Definitions of abnormality, including deviation from social norms, failure to function adequately, statistical infrequency and deviation from ideal mental health
SPECIMEN PAPER 1 (AQA A-level Psychology resources)
Which two of the following are examples of Jahoda’s criteria for ‘ideal mental health’? Shade two boxes only. For each answer completely fill in the circle alongside the appropriate answer.
A Dependence on others
B Environmental mastery
C Lack of inhibition
E Resistance to stress
Read the item and then answer the question that follows.
The following article appeared in a magazine:
Hoarding disorder – A ‘new’ mental illness
Most of us are able to throw away the things we don’t need on a daily basis. Approximately 1 in 1000 people, however, suffer from hoarding disorder, defined as ‘a difficulty parting with items and possessions, which leads to severe anxiety and extreme clutter that affects living or work spaces’.
Apart from ‘deviation from ideal mental health’, outline three definitions of abnormality. Refer to the article above in your answer.
Read the item and then answer the question that follows.
Kirsty is in her twenties and has had a phobia of balloons since one burst near her face when she was a little girl. Loud noises such as ‘banging’ and ‘popping’ cause Kirsty extreme anxiety, and she avoids situations such as birthday parties and weddings, where there might be balloons.
Suggest how the behavioural approach might be used to explain Kirsty’s phobia of balloons.
Read the item and then answer the questions that follow.
Twenty depressed patients were treated using cognitive behavioural therapy. Over the course of the six-week treatment, each patient’s mood was monitored every week using a self-report mood scale (where a score of 20 = extremely positive mood and a score of 0 = extremely negative mood). Each week they also completed a quality of sleep questionnaire which was scored from 10 = excellent sleep to 0 = very poor sleep.
At the end of the study the researchers correlated each patient’s final mood score with his or her final sleep score. The results are shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Scattergram to show the relationship between final mood scores and final sleep scores for 20 patients at the end of therapy
Outline the type of relationship shown in Figure 1 above and suggest whyit would not be appropriate for the researchers to conclude that better sleep improves mood.
Outline one way in which the researchers should have dealt with ethical issues in this study.
The sleep questionnaire used by the researchers had not been checked to see whether or not it was a reliable measure of sleep quality.
Explain how this study could be modified by checking the sleep questionnaire for test-retest reliability.
Outline cognitive behaviour therapy as a treatment for depression.
SPECIMEN PAPER 2 (A-level Psychology notes)
A researcher wanted to see whether cognitive behaviour therapy was an effective treatment for depression. Twenty depressed patients who had all recently completed a course of cognitive behaviour therapy were involved in the investigation. From their employment records, the researcher kept a record of the number of absences from work each patient had in the year following their treatment. This was compared with the number of absences from work each patient had in the year prior to their treatment.
Those patients who had fewer absences from work in the year following their treatment than in the year prior to their treatment were classified as ‘improved’ (+). Those patients who had more absences were classified as ‘deteriorated’ (-). Those patients who had the same number of absences were classified as ‘neither’ (0). The results of the investigation are included in Table 1 below.
The researcher decided to use the sign test to analyse the data.
Explain two factors that the researcher had to take into account when deciding to use the sign test. Refer to the investigation on the previous page in your answer.
Calculate the sign test value of s for the data in Table 1 on the previous page. Explain how you reached your answer.
Table 2: Critical values for the sign test
With reference to the critical values in Table 2, explain whether or not the value of s that you calculated in response to question 13 is significant at the 0.05 level for a two tailed test.
The investigation above is based on secondary data. In what ways would the use of primary data have improved this investigation?
Outline the implications of psychological research for the economy. Refer to the investigation above in your answer.
Outline one definition of abnormality.
Outline and evaluate one other definition of abnormality. [6 marks]
SPECIMEN PAPER 3 (AQA A-level Psychology notes)
Which two of the following are cognitive characteristics of depression? Choose two from the options A, B, C, D and E.
A A change in sleeping patterns
B Negative schema
C Poor concentration
D Low mood
Outline and discuss one biological explanation for obsessive-compulsive disorder. [6 marks]
A mother and father are discussing their 10-year-old son’s reluctance to go to a friend’s birthday party at the local swimming pool.
‘I really think he might have a fear of water’, says his mum. ‘I thought I might just sit with him in the car at the swimming pool car park until he calms down. Then we might go into the viewing area and watch the others. Perhaps then he might be ready to go in the pool’.
‘Nonsense’, replies his dad. ‘The only way to deal with fear is to face it; we should literally throw him in at the deep end!’
Discuss two behavioural treatments for phobias. Refer to the conversation above in your answer.
2017 (A-level Psychology revision notes)
Which two of the following are cognitive characteristics of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)? Choose two from the options A, B, C, D and E.
A Awareness that behaviour is irrational
D High anxiety
Outline one or more ways in which behaviourists treat phobias.
Rob is a sixth form student who has started hearing voices in his head. The voices come often, are usually threatening and make Rob feel frightened. The voices are making it difficult for Rob to complete his homework properly and he is worried about how this may affect his chances of going to university. Rob has not told anyone about his experiences, but his parents and teachers have noticed that he appears distracted, anxious and untidy.
Outline and evaluate failure to function adequately and deviation from ideal mental health as definitions of abnormality. Refer to the experiences of Rob in your answer.
2018 (AQA A-level Psychology revision notes)
A researcher studying depression wanted to see whether or not there was a relationship between level of self-esteem and negative schema score. She constructed two questionnaires and asked ten people who had been diagnosed with depression to complete them.
One questionnaire measured the participant’s level of self-esteem. A low score (out of 50) indicated low self-esteem.
The other questionnaire measured whether the participant showed evidence of negative schema. A low score (out of 50) indicated evidence of negative schema. The two sets of results for each participant are shown in the table below.
Table 1 Self-esteem score and negative schema score for each patient
Is negative schema score best described as measuring a cognitive, emotional or behavioural characteristic of depression? Shade one box only.
Draw a suitable graphical display to represent the data in Table 1. Label your graph appropriately.
The researcher analysed the data in Table 1 using a Spearman’s rho statistical test.
With reference to level of measurement, explain why Spearman’s rho is an appropriate statistical test for this data.
Estimate the correlation coefficient most likely to result from analysis of the data in Table 1. Shade one box only.
The correlation coefficient would be approximately
Discuss the cognitive approach to treating depression.
2019 (How to revise for A-level Psychology)
Outline two behavioural characteristics of depression.
Agoraphobia is an extreme fear of open or public spaces. It affects less than 1% of adults in the UK. In many cases, people with agoraphobia are unable to leave their homes and may not even be able to look outside, perceiving threats everywhere. The condition is very stressful for the individual, and for their family, and may prevent sufferers from living a normal life and achieving their potential.
Referring to the description above, outline three definitions of abnormality.
One explanation for phobias, including agoraphobia, is the two-process model.
Outline one limitation of the two-process model.
A researcher wanted to investigate agoraphobia by studying Patient X. The researcher designed a questionnaire to find out about Patient X’s experiences. However, a colleague suggested that the researcher might do better to conduct a case study.
Explain one or more reasons why it might be better to conduct a case study than a questionnaire.
Outline and evaluate one or more neural explanations of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
2020 (Psychology A-level revision)
Briefly evaluate the deviation from the ideal mental health definition of abnormality.
Outline two cognitive characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Max has a phobia of the sea. On a family holiday as a child, he was carried away by the tide and had to be rescued by a lifeguard. Now he has a family of his own, Max refuses to go on beach holidays.
Discuss the two-process model of phobias. Refer to Max’s phobia of the sea in your answer.
2021 (A-level Psychology revision)
Identify two behavioural characteristics of depression.
Briefly outline one way that a cognitive psychologist might treat depression by challenging irrational thoughts.
Describe the biological approach to treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Discuss statistical infrequency and deviation from social norms as definitions of abnormality.
2022 (AQA A-level Psychology revision)
Describe the statistical infrequency and failure to function adequately definitions of abnormality.
Outline one limitation of systematic desensitisation as a treatment for phobias.
A biological psychologist wanted to see if there was a positive correlation between heart rate (measured in beats per minute) and levels of a stress hormone (measured in micrograms) in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). She wrote a directional hypothesis and collected data from 20 people with OCD.
The psychologist chose to use the Pearson’s r test to analyse the data because she was testing for a correlation.
Explain one other reason why the psychologist used a Pearson’s r test in this study.
The calculated value of r for the Pearson’s test was +0.42.
Which one of the following scattergrams best represents a correlation coefficient of +0.42?
Shade one box only.
The researcher used the following table of critical values.
Is the psychologist’s calculated value significant? With reference to Table 1, explain your answer.
Discuss the genetic explanation for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).