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Psychological Disorder Research Paper Topics

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Writing about psychological disorders can help students become more familiar with human psychology. This lesson offers some topics that will require students to do external research about different psychological disorders.

Researching Psychological Disorders

When students study psychology, they often become interested in psychological disorders beyond their experience. They may be curious to learn where these disorders come from, what they are, and how they can be treated, etc. Learning about psychological disorders can help students appreciate the complexity of human psychology, as well as the roles of mental health professionals.

Because there is a limit to how much detail you can get into in class, psychological disorders present an ideal opportunity for students to do some external research. When students learn about psychological disorders, they can also share their findings with others, becoming the class experts on specific topics.

This lesson suggests some topics to help your students get started as they research psychological disorders.

Research Paper Topics

Each topic listed here is followed by a series of questions to guide the student researcher in developing a paper.

Causes of Psychological Disorders

Write a research paper describing and analyzing different theories about what causes different kinds of psychological disorders. In your research, investigate the following questions:

  • What seems to be the role of genetics in leading to psychological disorders?
  • What is the role of upbringing and family dynamics in causing psychological disorders?
  • What is the relationship between the cause of a psychological disorder and the best kind of treatment?
  • To what extent is the understanding of what is a psychological disorder culturally determined or even caused?

Depression and Anxiety

Since major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder are very common psychological problems, you might benefit from learning more about their etiology, expression and treatment. As you work on this research paper, consider the following questions:

  • What is severe depression? What are its symptoms and how is it diagnosed?
  • What is an anxiety disorder? How is it different from normal levels of worry and stress?
  • What are some of the recent theories on how best to treat anxiety and depression?
  • What are the similarities and differences between anxiety and depression, and how are they related to each other?

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders can be really complicated to understand and identify. Choose one personality disorder to focus on in depth for this research project. Study the following questions as you conduct your investigation:

  • What makes something a personality disorder?
  • What are the specific traits and challenges associated with the personality disorder you have identified?
  • What are some of the ways that a personality disorder can affect a person's life and the lives of people who care about the affected person?
  • What are some of the most successful forms of treatment for the personality disorder you have identified?

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