Definitions of abnormality

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  • Definitions of Abnormality
    • Deviaton from social norms
      • going against social norms
        • undesirable behaviour
          • Constantly deviating is viewed as abnormal
      • Limitations
        • Susceptibility of definition to abuse
          • Social norms are changed over time i.e. homosexuality never used to be a social norm
            • abnormality now may be normal in 10 years time
              • abnormaility musty be respected and not changed
        • deviant behaviour
          • some people want to be abnormal and unique so they may deviate from social norms on purpose
            • affects the definition of abnormality
        • cultural relativism
          • social norms are different in different cultures
            • individual may be considered abnormal in one culture and not in the other
              • individual may get wrong treatment
    • Failure to function adequately
      • Failure to perform day to day tasks to an adequate standard
      • individuals own sense of functioning
        • individual must recognise failure to function in order for them to make the decision to seek treatment
      • limitations
        • cultural relativism
          • people from tougher background are more likely to be harrased and deprived
            • could lead to abnormality and mental health problems
              • abnormality has different meanings in other cultures, some behaviour would be considered abnormal in some cultures and normal in others
        • who judges functioning?
          • if we rely on patient's perception of themselves then they may not realise they are abnormal and not seek treatment
            • i.e. people suffering with schizophrenia do not have an accurate perception of reality
        • can dysfuntional behaviour be adaptive?
          • shortcuts are often taken with day to day tasks in certain situations to adapt
            • i.e. exams
              • this does not make a person abnormal
    • Deviation from idea mental health
      • Marie Jahoda (1958)
        • 6 common categories for ideal mental health
          • mastery of environment
            • able to navigate a variety of different envirnoments
          • accurate perception of reality
            • aware of what is real
          • potential for growth and development
            • self-actualisation
              • Maslow's hierarchy of needs
          • autonomy
            • independence
          • positive interpersonal relationships
          • self acceptance and attitudes
            • secure sense of self
      • limitations
        • can we all meet every category of ideal mental health
          • average individual struggles to meet all categories by Jahoda
            • no one is perfect, just because someone doesn't meet all categories it doesn't make them abnormal
        • is mental health the same as physical health
          • doctors use signs of health as a way of detecing physical health
            • physical and mental illness have different signs, physical illness is easier to spot than mental illness
        • cultural relativism
          • criteria for mental health was developed in the western world where individuals have the privilage of personal independence
            • different cultures have different ways of life so the categories may not be met by everyone everywhere
              • this does not mean that they are abnormal
                • i.e. collectivist cultures do not promote independantly achieving goas - self-actualisation
                • i.e. asian cultures do not promote autonomy


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