Definitions of abnormality

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  • Definitions of Abnormality
    • Deviation from social norms
      • social norms are standards of acceptable behavior, set by the social group, and based on the opinions of society's elite. those seen as deviating are seen as abnormal
        • types of norms - developmental/age norms: where certain behaviors are accepted or not accepted at different points in ones lifespan, eg, temper tantrums at age 3, not age 30. situational: where certain behaviors are expected in different situations, eg,  wear a bikini at the beach, not at the supermarket. Cultural norms: where certain behaviors are accepted or not accepted in different cultures, eg, homosexulaity accepted in western cultures, not in African ones.
          • AO2 - norms are subjective, based on the opinions of societys elite, so are likely to change over time. some people seen as deviating may just be individualistic or eccentric. sometimes in order for society to experience positive social change, it is necessary to break the social norms
    • Failure to function adequately
      • Rosenhan and Seligman - 7 features of personal dysfunction
        • 1. personal distress 2. observer discomfort 3. maladaptive behavior 4. irrationality 5. violation of moral standards 6. unpredictability 7.unconventionality
          • AO2 - not all mental disorders are accompanied by personal dysfunction. individual differences. cultural differences
    • Deviation from ideal mental health
      • Jahoda - 6 characteristics needed to be possessed by an individual in order to be considered normal
        • 1.positive self attitude - high self esteem and self confidence. 2. accurate perception of reality - perceive the world in an accurate, non distorted manner. 3. resistant to stress - effective coping strategies in place. 4. self actualization -  becoming all one is capable of becoming. 5. autonomy - self reliant, independent able to make personal decisions. 6. environmental mastery - skilled in all aspects of their lives, able to adapt to life changing circumstances both socially and occupationally
          • AO2 - criteria is said to be too strict, most if not all people would be classed as abnormal. levels of hardiness may fluctuate. cultural differences.


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