Subject Research Guides

Psychological Disorders Research Guide

When to Use This Guide

Use this guide when researching psychological dysfunctions and disorders (also referred to as abnormal behavior, mental illness, behavior and emotional disorders) that create distress or interfere with a person's functioning in relationships. Causes, description, and classification of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disorders are part of the study of psychological disorders.

Finding General or Background Information on Psychological Disorders

Use both general and subject reference sources to find background information on psychology. You can explore broad concepts such as theories, big names in the field, and controversies, as well as specific terminology. Begin with some of the resources listed below.

Subject Headings for Finding Information About Psychological Disorders in

Finding Articles About Psychological Disorders in Research Databases

Search EBSCOhost for psychology articles published in scholarly, popular, and general interest periodicals.

Contains full-text articles and abstracts from journals published by the American Psychological Association and others. Coverage for some of them extends back to the 19th century. Note the Thesaurus (link at the top of the screen under "Subjects") for help in finding synonyms, and broader, narrower, and related concepts.

Congressional Quarterly Researcher (CQ Researcher)
Contains reports about issues widely discussed in the media, such as eating disorders, ADHD, depression, autism, and substance abuse.

Selected Web Sites

Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy
See "Section 15 – Psychiatric Disorders" of this widely used and authoritative medical textbook.

BehaveNet – Clinical Capsules™
Clinical Capsules - Terminology of Behavioral Health Care presents disorder diagnostic criteria based on current DSM-IV-TR (“Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” 4th ed., text revision). Please note that only the criteria, and not the diagnostic features, recording procedures, or differential diagnosis are included. The menu in the left frame contains links to DSM-IV codes by number.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
This foundation is a private, not-for-profit public charity organized for the purpose of raising funds for scientific research into the causes, cures, treatments, and prevention of severe psychiatric brain disorders, such as schizophrenia and depression. Available descriptions of disorders are aimed at the general reader.

Medline Plus - Mental Health
Medline Plus is a database of health information from the world's largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine. Each entry in the list leads to an organized set of links of information on diagnosis, treatment, latest findings, law, statistics, etc.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Contains information about adult mental health, including signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for a variety of disorders.

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
NAMI is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support, and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses. This link leads to mental illness descriptions written or reviewed by MDs, and aimed at a general reader.

National Action Agenda for Children's Mental Health
In 2001 David Satcher, Assistant Secretary for Health and Surgeon General, released a "National Action Agenda for Children's Mental Health" that outlines goals and strategies to improve the services for children and adolescents with mental health problems, and for their families. The full text is available here.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
This site is created and maintained by SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Follow the menu for topics and locations. Publications range from brief pamphlets to longer reports, all aimed at the general public.

California Department of Mental Health Services
The DMH site contains information about law, county and state health departments, and programs and services in California.

Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
ADAA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety disorders, and to improve the lives of all people who suffer from them. Follow the “Getting Help” menu choice to find a glossary, descriptions, articles, links, and more.

Mental Health Statistical Data

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Page Last Updated: January 25 2016

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Research Tips

These Research Guides have been prepared by librarians to assist with your research. Read more:

Evaluating Web Resources

Critically Analyzing Information Sources

Searching Electronic Resources Effectively

For more information on citation style, see:

Citing Your Research

Related Guides

Introductory Psychology Research Guide

Developmental Psychology Research Guide