Definitions of abnormality

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  • Created by: Maddie
  • Created on: 19-02-13 09:00
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  • Definitions of abnormality
    • Deviation from social norms
      • Every society has commonly accepted standards of behavior. Sometimes these are written, laws or some are unwritten but generally accepted, standing in queues.
      • One way to define abnormality is too consider deviations from social norms as an indication of abnormality.
      • Behavior that deviates from social norm is not necessarily a sign of abnormality. It could be eccentricity.
      • Social norms vary over time - homosexuality.
      • Cultural relativity
    • Failure to function adequatley
      • Focuses on everyday behavior of an individual.
      • We get up get dressed, support a family and go to work. When someone deviates from this normal pattern of behavior we say they are failing to function adequately.
      • The behavior depends on the context. For example hunger strikes.
      • May not be linked to a psychological disorder. Holding down a job  may be hard for an immigrant.
    • Deviation from ideal mental health
      • This attempts to define an ideal state of health.
        • An individual should be in touch with their own feeling, resistant to stress, focused on the future and should show empathy.
      • These guidelines were written in Western societies so there is a cultural aspect.
      • Very few people fit the guidelines exactly.


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