Psychology- Definitions of abnormality

  • Created by: Daisymac
  • Created on: 17-05-19 08:58
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  • Abnormality
    • Definition
      • A psychological or behavioral state leading to some impairment of inter/intra personal functioning and/or distress to the individuals and /or others
      • Difficult to define objectively as it depends on different factors
    • Factors
      • Moral standards of the society or culture
      • What we individually think is socially acceptable or unnatural
      • The situation or context
      • the degree to which the behavior is taken
      • The historical period in which behavior occurs
      • The age,gender or culture of person involved
    • Deviation from social norms
      • Societies have unwritten rules about acceptable behaviour
      • Abnormal behavior= varies from he expected behavior
      • Explicit rules eg laws
      • Implicit rules eg unspoken expectations of behaviour
      • Social norms differ from culture to culture
      • Individual carries out undesirable behaviour = Social deviants and abnormal
      • The definition does account for developmental norms as it suggests that behaviors are normal/abnormal for different ages.
      • The definition is open to abuse as it offers a means for any society to control behaviour that are seen as unpredictable.
    • Failure to function adequately
      • Considered abnormal if  not able to cope with the demands of everyday life
      • Rosenhan and Seligman proposed 7 characteristics to show if someone is failing to function
        • Maladaptive behaviour- Behavior that stops a person from achieving major life goals
        • Observer discomfort- Behaving in a way that causes the observer to feel uncomfortable
        • Personal distress- Most abnormal individuals report suffering
        • Violation of moral standards- Behaving in a morally unacceptable way
        • Irrationality- Behaviour is irrational and incomprehensible and cannot be explained in a rational way
        • Unpredictability- Most people behave in a fairly predictable way but often abnormal people do not
        • Unconventionality of behaviour- Showing unusual, vivid or distinctive behaviour
      • More characteristics shown  and the more intense they appear, the more abnormal they are considered to be
      • Global Assessment of Functioning scale- Rates level of social, occupational and psychological functioning
      • Makes abnormality easy to judge objectively as we can list the behaviors the individual shows.
      • There are times when it would be normal to experience some of the criteria eg personal distress when someone dies and there are some abnormal people who are able to cope with demands of everyday life
      • Untitled
    • Deviation from ideal mental health
      • Jahoda 1958 states that we define physical illness by looking at what is different from the ideal mental health
      • FFA= Presence of behaviors DIMH= Absences of positive characteristics
      • Positive self attitude- High self esteem and strong sense of personal identity
      • Personal growth- Self actualization
      • Resistance to stress- Able to cope with the stressful situations
      • Autonomy- Being an independent person and is able to make their own decisions
      • Accurate perception of reality- Able to form realistic judgement of themselves and others
      • Mastery of the environment- Ability to love,work,solve problems
      • The criteria set by this definition are unrealistic as very few people meet all of the criteria all of the time
      • Allows the therapist and client to target specific areas for improvement.
    • Statistical infrequency
      • Occurs when an individual has a less common characteristic compared to most of the population
      • Behaviours that are numerically rare are abnormal
      • About 68% of population falls between +1 and -1 SD
      • 95% Fall ebtween +2 and -2 SD
      • Some rare behaviors are abnormal eg being highly intelligent.
      • No judgements are made as no  behavior is labeled as wrong or unacceptable but just uncommon

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