Abnormal Psychology across the Ages
by Thomas G. Plante, Editor
June 2013, 835pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
3 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39836-0
$171, £132, 149€, A235
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39837-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Abnormal behavior was once thought to result from spirit possession by demons or devils.

In these three volumes, a team of scholars provides a thoughtful history of abnormal psychology, demonstrating how concepts regarding disordered mental states, their causes, and their treatments developed and evolved across the ages.

Compiling current thought from some of the best minds in the field, Abnormal Psychology across the Ages provides essays that reflect on multiple dimensions of abnormal behavior. These experts present biological, psychological, social, cultural, and supernatural perspectives throughout human history on a range of disorders, as well as the global influences on scientific thinking. A fascinating read for anyone in the field of abnormal psychology, from undergraduate students to clinicians, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists, this three-volume work addresses questions such as: What is “abnormal” psychology and thinking? What are the causes, how have we treated it, and how do we treat it now? And how does the culture of the times affect what we perceive as “abnormality”?


  • Explains historic views on disorders, including causes and treatments such as the belief that depression in women stemmed from "a wandering uterus," homosexuality being categorized a mental disorder, and the "treatment" of various disorders via blood-letting or lobotomy
  • Explains the advent of psychology/psychiatry/psychologists/psychiatrists; the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the fields' bible of mental disorders and treatments; the evolution of the field; and the political controversies it has faced since its inception
  • Examines controversial topics across time, ranging from human rights of the mentally disordered to multicultural views on what does and does not constitute a disorder
Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP, is the Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. University Professor and professor of psychology at Santa Clara University, and adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. He has authored, coauthored, edited, or coedited 16 books, including ABC-CLIO's Religion, Spirituality, and Positive Psychology: Understanding the Psychological Fruits of Faith and Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: A Decade of Crisis, 2002–2012. Plante has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Time magazine, The New York Times, CNN, NBC Nightly News, and National Public Radio, among many others.


"[I]nvites the reader to consider recurring themes and trends in the conceptualization of abnormal behavior from ancient to modern times. . . . Abnormal Psychology Across the Ages is an important work that presents a well-integrated, tersely presented, topical, panoramic, and interdisciplinary discussion of key historical, contemporary, biological, behavioral, physical, and philosophical trends that lead us back to examine our beliefs about what constitutes adaptive as well as maladaptive behavior."—PsycCRITIQUES, June 30, 2014

"This reference set will be useful to high school or undergraduate students writing about mental illness in history and in the present. . . . Overall, though, the chapters seem well-written and well-researched, with reference lists. . . . Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers."—Choice, February 28, 2014
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