Psychology- Definitions of Abnormality

  • Created by: Aperson64
  • Created on: 01-02-22 10:13
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  • Definitions of Abnormality
    • Failure to function adequately
      • When a person's behaviour is abnormal to where it inhibits them from doing daily functions
      • Not all people with abnormal behaviour can't function adequately .
        • Harold Shipman seemed like a professional doctor but he killed more than 250 of his patients.
      • Does it matter that it doesn't cause stress to the individual but causes stress to those around them .
      • This definition may not be culturally relative as what some see as functioning adequately others may not see it .
    • Statistical infrequency
      • abnormal behaviours are those which are very rare
      • Those who outside the normal distribution are abnormal- 5% or two standard deviation points
      • Some abnormal behaviors are desirable like having a high IQ or being able to run fast
      • No judgments are made of the individual as it just says whether or not the behaviour is abnormal or not.
      • Some normal behaviours are actually abnormal e.g. depression is fairly common
    • Deviation from ideal mental health
      • A psychological MOT where a person's behaviour is measured against a check list of ideal psychological characteristics
      • Jahoda  (1958) made 6 categories to define this.
        • Autonomy, Self-attitudes, Self-actualisation,
        • Accurate perception of reality, Integration, Mastery of the environment.
      • It uses unrealistic criteria as most people do not do all of these at the same time so it would say most people are abnormal.
      • The definition may not be culturally relative as some of the criteria would be subjective
      • It uses positivity as it emphasizes on positive things instead of failures and distresses
    • Deviation from social norms
      • Behaviour that goes against society's norms as ideal or "normal"
      • It lacks cultural relativism as some people may be considered abnormal  may be considered normal
      • Social norms have changed over time  some things are no longer abnormal
      • It distinguishes between non-desirable and desirable behaviour


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