Sociology Question


1. Gather data about Greg and organize it before writing the essay:

  • View the Powerpoint Presentation below. It is called “Practice in assigning a diagnosis.”
  • Stop. Make a list of all of Greg’s behaviors that seem odd and problematic. Some of these behaviors are odd enough to be called “symptoms.” NO ONE displays every symptom of a disorder, so don’t worry if some listed symptoms are not displayed by the subject.
  • Then go back to the list of symptoms in the PowerPoint presentation. One by one, match your list of Greg’s problem behaviors to the list provided by DSM-5 for schizophrenia.

2. Assign your diagnosis to Greg and then support it by writing your essay in the following manner:

  • State what Greg’s diagnosis is (schizophrenia).
  • Start down the list of eleven criteria for schizophrenia found in the PowerPoint presentation.
  • Write down the FIRST DIAGNOSTIC CRITERION for schizophrenia. Then review Greg’s behavior. Does any of his behavior fall into this category? If so, write the behavior as an example of the first criteria. If he does not display any of those behaviors, just say so. BE SURE TO USE A PARAGRAPH FOR EACH OF THE CRITERIA AND TELL ME IF HE DOES OR DOES NOT DISPLAY BEHAVIORS THAT MATCH EACH CRITERION.
  • Be very specific about behaviors when you match Greg’s symptoms (odd behaviors) to the eleven diagnostic criteria. For instance, if you think he hallucinates, say that he hallucinates, but also specify whether he hears (auditory hallucinations) or sees things (visual hallucinations) and state exactly what he hears or sees. Assigning a diagnosis is like building a wall, brick by brick, so it will stand up to questioning by your supervisor or other clinicians.
  • If Greg does not display a symptom at the present but we know he has in the past, be sure to indicate that you are using historical data, not current observation for that symptom.
  • Then START ANOTHER PARAGRAPH and list the second diagnostic criterion, do the match between Greg’s symptomatic behavior and the second diagnostic criterion.
  • Then go on to the third criterion and the fourth, until you have worked your way through all eleven criteria.
  • Start a new paragraph for each diagnostic criterion to keep everything organized and separated.
  • You may end with a summary paragraph.

EXAMPLE: for a medical diagnosis of flu, an individual will dislay fever, aches & pains and fatigue. (THIS IS THE LIST OF THE CRITERIA.)

Our patient is John, who has the flu. (THIS IS THE DIAGNOSIS.)

Criterion one is fever, and John has a temperature of 102 degrees. (THIS MATCHES CRITERION #1 TO A SPECIFIC SYMPTOM, a high temperature.)

Criterion two is ache & pains and John is complaining of generalized muscle pain. He says that he has not overexerted himself recently.

Criterion three is fatigue, and John is in bed resting. He slept 12 hours last night, but still feels too tired to get up, much less go to work.

John’s symtoms match the diagnostic criteria for the flu.

3. POST your work to the instructor.

Do not worry if Greg’s behaviors do not supply a match for each and every criteria. Few individuals display all the criteria listed. Even very disturbed individuals may not display the entire spectrum of symptoms all the time. (This is one reason why gathering information from family, friends and prior records is so important.)

NOTE: Some students make a mistake here. They make two lists, one of the DSM-5 criteria for the disorder and a second list of the person’s symptoms. They then stop and assume that they are done.

That is NOT correct. The instructor will not do the matching; Understanding which behavior matches each of the eleven DSM criteria and correctly assigning each behavior to its DSM criterion is a key part of your assignment.

REMEMBER: The goal is for you to go down the list of the eleven DSM diagnostic criteria in paragraph by paragraph, MATCHING each odd or symptomatic behavior displayed by the Greg to the correct diagnostic criterion. Once again, if Greg does not display a symptom which matches one of the criteria, simply list the criteria, say that he does not display it and move on to the next. Few individuals are so unfortunate as to display symptoms which match every criteria for a given diagnosis.


The DSM-5 specifies how many diagnostic criteria (symptoms) must be present (and sometimes for how long) before the diagnosis is assigned. After listing all criteria and the symptoms which match them, a clinician will decide If enough diagnostic criteria (symptoms) are present and have been there long enough, so that the DSM diagnosis can be assigned.

With schizophrenia, for instance, duration of six months is required. So a person appearing for the first time with new symptoms will not be given that diagnosis immediately. If the individual does have schizophrenia, it is not going to go away and the diagnosis will be assigned six months later. Greg absolutely displays enough of the diagnostic criteria and has done so for a long enough period of time to be classified as a schizophrenic.

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