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What is abnormality
Terms in this set (12)
There are three definitions of abnormality
Deviation from social norms
Failure to function adequately
Deviation from ideal mental health
Deviation from social norms assumes that behaviour is abnormal if it violates implicit or explicit social norms of that specific culture
If behaviour varies greatly from that which society expects, it could be an indicator of mental illness. An example would be talking loudly to yourself, a symptom of schizophrenia which could demonstrate a lost touch of reality
Limitations of deviation from social norms.
Social norms change over time - behaviour is only considered abnormal if it goes against current social norms.
Eccentricity could be mistakenly judged as psychologically abnormal according to this definition.
Cultural issues-norms in one culture may seem strange to another.
Social norms can be context dependent.
This definition could be used to control undesirable behaviours in society
Failure to function adequately assumes that a person is behaving abnormally if they can no longer cope with the daily demands of life such as personal hygiene
The severity of a person's failure to function can be measured using a global assessment of functioning scale
Limitations of failure to function adequatley.
Someone who displays behaviour which may seem abnormal to others but does not affect the person's ability to lead a normal life would not need help according to this model
Treatment can be prioritised based on how severe the failure to function is, meaning those with a mild disfunction may not receive help.
Some people may not be able to function adequately temporarily but this may be due to external factors
Some mental illnesses do not affect daily fuctioning
Direction of causality- extreme poverty could prevent people from functioning adequately which could lead to mental illness, rather than the other way round.
Deviation from ideal mental health - Jahoda 1958 identified 6 major criteria which she believed promoted psychological health and wellbeing. She claimed anyone lacking these qualities would be vulnerable to mental disorder
Positive view of self-accepting personal limitations and abilities
Actualisation-strive to fulfil potential.
Personal autonomy-reliant on own resources, able to make decisions that are right for the individual not to satisfy others.
Accurate view of reality-viewing the world realistically-no distortion of reality.
Resistance to stress
Limitations of deviation from ideal mental health-
The difficulty of self-actualisation-few achieve their full potential in life.
Unclear what accurate view of reality is as reality is a product of an individuals mind.
The concepts are vague and difficult to measure.
A psychopath is mentally ill but could have a positive view of them self.
Assumes absence of one category means abnormality.
The qualities should be considered a set of living standards rather than criteria for ideal mental health
Approaches to Abnormality
Approaches to Abnormality
Biological/physiological-abnormality is caused by genetics, brain damage, infection, neurotransmitters or hormones
Psychodynamic-abnormality is due to unresolved personality conflicts in our childhood or because parts of the personality are currently in conflict but the defence mechanisms are used disproportionately.
Behavioural-abnormal behaviour is learnt through experience and observing others
Cognitive-irrational thinking leads to abnormal behaviours and emotions
Genes-biological psychologists believe that mental disorderd have a genetic basis and that the more closely related you are to someone with a disorder, the more likely you are to develop the disorder
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