Robert C. Carson, James N. Butcher and Susan Mineka Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life

Review by Anna Roble

A good panoramic view on a wide range of conditions and abnormalities affecting human behaviour nowadays. A handbook prepared for psychology students, it presents issues relating to psychopathology, psychiatry and emotional abnormalities, yet due to its introductory character and transparent as well educational character, it may address the needs of other related fields, including social work, medicine, education, sociology or law.

More specific subjects presented in the book comprise: the causes of psychological abnormalities, stress and its impact on the process of adaptation, suicide, abnormalities of personality, sexual abuse, schizophrenia and other related conditions, learning difficulties and other limitations of cognitive function, abnormalities specific for childhood and adolescence addictions and many others. The book introduces adequate psychological therapies and contemporary problems, including legal and ethical conditioning employed in treatment of psychological abnormalities.

The clarity and accessibility is achieved through the employment of an interesting layout and the organisation of the book. It offers a range of tables and highlighted areas either presenting or summarising certain themes, including end-of-each-chapter summaries. Historic, diagnostic and therapeutic as well as research related aspects are mentioned in the book.

There are case studies and printed in bold terminology which makes the book a representative example of American academic textbook. The authors intentionally relate their work to their famous predecessor, James Coleman’s, book Psychology of abnormalities. Man in the modern world. Theirs is a textbook which introduces the old and new theories, methods and research within the field of psychopathology, alongside identifying future needs and potential gaps and questions yet to be answered.

The rich material gathered in the book is contained within two volumes and eighteen chapters. There are also links to the case studies and other material used during the preparation stage and in the book as well as practical tests, internet addresses and other supporting materials presented online at .

Carson, R. C., Butcher, J. N. and Mineka, S. (2000) Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life, Eleventh Edition

Published in Poland (Polish translation), Gdanskie Wydawnictwo Psychologiczne (2005)

An English-language version of the book is available online, see:


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