abnormality

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  • Created by: athinaP
  • Created on: 18-05-16 11:14
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  • definitions of abnormality
    • failure to function adequately
      • if any aspect of behaviour interferes with everyday life then it's considered abnormal
        • the definition refers to the inability to cope with day to day living so that the person is causing stress discomfort to themselves or others.
          • eg, not going to work, eating, stops having social relationships
            • the person may also be causing discomfort to other people, eg, a person with schizophrenia can become suspicious and act unpredictably
      • limitations
        • exceptions to the rule
          • there are times where behaviour is not abnormal, eg political prisoners hunger striking as part of their protest
            • Gandhi went on hunger strike for Indian independence, although it may be seen as abnormal it's understandable given the circumstance
        • culture
          • what may be considered adequate in one culture may not be in another. depends on cultural beliefs
            • this will lead to different diagnosis in different cultures.
              • eg, Arabs tend to stand closer to people when they talk compared to European people. this could cause observer discomfort and the behaviour from these cultures may be interpreted innacurately
    • deviation from social norms
      • social norms are the approved + expected ways of behaving. these norms are often linked to moral standards eg acceptable sexual behaviour
        • when people behave in a way that's different from the standards set by society they are considered abnormal eg someone with SZ may experience hallucinations, this behaviour goes against social norms in society
      • limitations
        • social norms change over time
          • social attitudes change because moral attitudes change. that means behaviour that would be deviant 50 years ago would be acceptable in society today.
            • homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder until 1970's. this means that defining abnormal behaviour using current social norms may lead to unfair treatment.
        • culture
          • social norms are dependant on culture.
            • some ethnic groups may hear voices during religious festivals or have visual hallucinations which would be regarded as a mental illness in the west.
              • this could explain why a disproportionate no. of black males are diagnosed with SZ in the uk
    • deviation from ideal mental health
      • jahoda identified 6 positive characteristics which promoted good psychological health. if you don't meet all 6 you are considered to be vulnerable to mental disorder
        • accurate perception of reality
        • positive attitudes towards the self
        • self actualisation of one's potential
        • personal autonomy
        • adapting to and mastering  the environment
        • resistance to stress
        • for example someone with schizophrenia will not have an accurate perception of reality and is therefore abnormal
      • limitations
        • different to meet all criteria
          • it is unlikely that people will be able to meet every criteria and therefore by using this model most people would be abnormal.
        • culture
          • criteria is based on the western ideas of psychological health including views of individuality eg personal autonomy so these values wouldnt be appropriate for collectivist societies that do not value autonomy

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