Definitions of Abnormal Behaviour and Their Limitations

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  • Definitions of Abnormality and their Limitations
    • Deviation from social norms
      • Behaviour that is seen asa deviaiton from social norms, the rules regulating how we behave
        • Behaviour is seen as undesirable by majority of societie's members
      • Limitations
        • Social norms vary between cultures
          • Arab countries women show little flesh, in the UK it's acceptable
        • Social norms change over time
          • Pregnancy out of wedlock used to be abnormal, now it's accepted
        • Social norm depends on context
          • To get undressed in the street is abnormal, to get undressed on the beach is fine
    • Failure to Function Adequately
      • Classed as abnormal if fail to carry out daily tasks
        • Criteria
          • Recognise they're suffering and are stressed
          • Behaviour prevents achievement, relationships and work
          • Behaviour differs from the norm
          • Behaviour is unpredictable and they lack control
          • People observing are uncomfortable
      • Limitation
        • Some people with mental disorder still function adequately
          • Winston Churchill and Stephen Fry both bipolar - successful
        • Subjective - who decides what's adequate?
          • A doctor may be biased and judge behaviour abnormal which someone else thinks is normal
    • Deviation from Ideal Mental Health
      • Abnormal if don't have ideal mental health
        • Criteria for good mental health
          • Being able to think positively about self
          • How well you achieve and have self-actulisation (morality, acceptance)
          • Cope with or resist stress
          • Independent and self-regulating
          • Have an accurate perception of reality
          • Adaptable to environments - form relationships
      • Limitation
        • Idealistic - few people who meet criteria
          • Younger people have changing hormones meaning stress and low-self esteem are normal
        • Ethnocentric - criteria based on estern culture
          • Determined by western culture and good mental health might be considered different in a different culture
            • Eg. Dependency may be normal


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