2004 AP Psychology Free-Response Questions

Directions: You have 50 minutes to answer BOTH of the following questions.  It is not enough to answer the question by merely listing facts.  You should present a cogent argument based on your critical analysis of the questions posed, using appropriate psychological terminology.

  1. Dr. Franklin investigated the relationship between stress and physical illness.  She persuaded a high school principal to require all female athletes in the school to participate in her study.  She explained the purpose of her research to the athletes and asked them to use a standard form to rate the severity of their stress over the last six months.  More than 250 athletes completed the form.  Then Dr. Franklin analyzed the forms returned by the first 100 athletes.  She requested the attendance records from the nurseís office for each of those athletes to verify the number of days absent due to illness during the same six-month period.  In the debriefing summary that Dr. Franklin sent to the 100 athletes after she completed the study, she stated that athletes who reported more stress also experienced more frequent illness.  Dr. Franklin concluded that stress causes physical illness.

        Identify the research method used by Dr. Franklin.

        Describe the operational definitions of the TWO key variables that Dr. Franklin used in the study.

        Based on the information provided, describe ONE appropriate and ONE inappropriate ethical feature of the study.

        Identify ONE statistical technique that Dr. Franklin could use to represent the relationship between the variables in the study.

        Describe TWO aspects of research design that weaken the validity of Dr. Franklinís conclusion that stress causes physical illness.


  1. Time is an important variable in many psychological concepts.  Describe a specific example that clearly demonstrates an understanding of each of the following concepts and how it related to or is affected by time.  Use a different example for each concept.