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University of Toronto Scarborough

Department of Psychology

Abnormal Psychology
PSYB32 (L30 & L60) - peerScholar
Dear all,
The first peerScholar assignment is now available. We have made this first
one available a bit earlier in order to allow everyone to get the hang of it.
For those of you who do not know what peerScholar is, have a look at this
brief YouTube video:

(hold CTRL/CMD and click the above picture)

In brief, and as per the syllabus, you will be presented with a brief clinical
case and your job is to give your diagnostic impression. Use the brief

student guide to DSM-5 that was included with your textbook. You will
provide your diagnosis(es), treatment recommendation, and then will
provide a brief justification as to why you came to your
diagnosis(es)/treatment recommendation(s). Then, your peers will read your
responses and provide you with feedback. Following this, you will have
opportunity to revise you work and resubmit.
You will be given 5 case studies throughout the semester and one will be
chosen at random to be marked by the TAs and included as 10% of your
final mark (5% for the diagnosis & treatment recommendation and 5% for
the justification). If you are late or miss a phase, you will lose marks (NO
EXCEPTIONS). Hence, it is in your best interest to try your best on all of the
assignments and give/consider feedback wisely.

peerScholar Login
Firstly, youll need to login. These steps should help:
1. In the PSYB32 course page on BlackBoard, click peerScholar on
the left-hand navigation panel.
2. It may ask you to click here to go to the peerScholar website
(click the link).
3. A new window should pop up without the need to type in your
peerScholar login credentials (you are automatically logged in with
your BlackBoard credentials).
4. If a new window did not open, make sure that your browser did not
block pop-ups. If it did, you may need to turn this off temporarily or
set an exception.
5. Once logged in, you will see PSYB32 2014 on your dashboard.
Click it.
6. You will see the assignment. Click it and follow the steps to
complete it.

Case Study and Response

After reading the case study paragraph(s), youll need to respond to it.

Treatment Recommendation(s):
List your treatment recommendations.
List the symptoms from the clinical case that meet the specific criteria for
the diagnosis you made. Remember, there may be two or more applicable
diagnoses. In addition, list the other conditions that may be a focus of
clinical attention. It is highly recommended that you use the brief student
guide to DSM-5.

Example Case Study and Response

Below youll find an example of the case study that you might be presented
with and the possible response you could give.
Charles is a 10-year-old boy who lives with his mom and attends the fourth
grade and is high achieving student. In the last few weeks, he refused to go
to school and has missed 7 school days. He cant sleep at night worrying
about going to school. When the morning comes, he cries and screams that
he cant go and throws tantrums by chewing holes in his clothes, pulling his
hair, stomping his feet, punching the wall all of which eventually causes him
to have headaches and sometimes causes him to vomit. The days that he
does go to school, is less anxious until he goes to sleep. Over time, his
mother has noticed that he has become gloomy, has stopped doing his home
work which he once enjoyed and worries about his mom getting sick and
leaving him.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Educational Problems
Treatment Recommendation(s):
Individual Psychotherapy
According to the DSM-5, one must meet three out of the eight criteria in
order to meet diagnostic criteria for Separation Anxiety Disorder. Charles
(1) displays recurrent excessive distress when separation from home or his
mother is anticipated; (2) he has persistent reluctance or refusal to go to
school or elsewhere because of fearing separation; (3) he has repeat
complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches,
nausea, or vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs
or is anticipated. This would be considered an Educational Problem as per
the other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention. Research has
shown that individual psychotherapy to be the first line of treatment for
children and adolescents with separation anxiety disorder.


Use the brief student guide to DSM-5 booklet that

was included with your textbook
Read the case study and start writing down all of the
possible diagnoses that could possibly apply (this is a
called a differential diagnosis)
Sign out the DSM-5 from the library or search for the
criteria on the web
Dont look for features of a diagnosis to confirm your
suspicion but rather critically evaluate the diagnostic
criteria and how it fits with your guess