Applying Diagnostic criteria paper

Abnormal Psychology

Applying Diagnostic Criteria Paper

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The purpose of this assignment is to introduce students to the diagnostic process.


Note that there is a Sample Paper on Canvas for your reference.


Step One: Select and watch a movie from the list below


The paper will be based on a character in a movie who has a psychological diagnosis. As you watch the movie, take notes on the behavior of the character.


Ordinary People

Leaving Las Vegas

What Dreams May Come

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Still Alice

A Beautiful Mind

Matchstick Men

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

The Skeleton Twins

Infinitely Polar Bear

Welcome to Me

Primal Fear


Girl Interrupted

Black Swan


Sophie’s Choice

Born on the Fourth of July

The Fisher King

Benny and Joon

I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can

Night Mother

The Hours

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape


Step Two – Case Study


Write a synopsis of the movie in which you introduce your reader to the basic plot of the movie. Highlight parts of the movie that demonstrate your character’s symptoms. It is tempting to go to the internet and use a plot summary that someone else has written. DO NOT DO THIS. If you use any portion of someone else’s work, you are plagiarizing. In order to avoid plagiarism on this assignment, watch the movie. Take notes. Write your synopsis from scratch. Don’t even glance at a plot synopsis someone else has written.


Step Three – Diagnosis


Use your textbook and class lectures to identify the disorder of your chosen character. Note that correct identification of the character’s disorder is not necessary, and points will not be deducted for diagnoses that are sensible given the character’s symptoms.




Step Four – DSM-5 Criteria


Obtain the DSM-5criteria for the disorder you identified in step three. List each part of the diagnostic criteria and then justify your diagnosis by explaining the movie character’s symptoms for each piece of the diagnostic criteria. piece Make sure you have the full DSM-5 list of criteria, not just a summary from a website.


Step Five – Conclusion


Write a paragraph or two summarizing your findings so that if a reader where to skip the DSM-5 section of your paper s/he would get the gist of your thinking about the character in the movie and your diagnostic conclusions.


Spelling, Grammar, and Plagiarism

Poor grammar, disorganized sentence structure, and careless spelling will all have an adverse effect on your paper grade.

  • If you are a good writer, submit your paper to Grammarly for corrections.
  • If you are a poor writer, visit the Center for Achievement and Student Success (CASA) for help with the writing process. The CASA is in Garner Hall, Room 113. Their number is 305-899-3485.


Plagiarism is when you copy what someone else has written and put it in your paper as if you wrote it. It is not enough to simply change a few words in the sentence someone else wrote and then say it is your work. If you use any portion of someone else’s work, you are plagiarizing. Even if you simply use the other writer’s structure you are cheating.


Grading Rubric

  • If you complete the entire assignment well, you will earn 100 points.
  • Case Study. Worth 35 points. More points will be given for summaries that highlight the behavior of the character being diagnosed. In other words, your reader should be able to imagine the character’s behavior and how it aligns with diagnostic criteria.If any words are taken from someone else’s plot summary, the entire paper will be failed.
  • DSM-5 Criteria. Worth 50 points. Points will be given for accurate DSM-5 information and how well you have matched the behavior of the character to the criteria.
  • Worth 5 points. You will be graded on the thoroughness of your conclusion (i.e., did you include every aspect of the diagnosis in your Conclusion).
  • Quality of writing will be worth 10 points.



Submit your paper through the Turnitin link on the course Canvas site. You will find this in the Module with this document and the sample paper.

Late Papers

Late papers will be accepted but 10 points per each 24 hours will be deducted from the paper.

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