Deviation from social norms


Deviation from social norms


  • Flexible dependant on situation and age
  • If you have lived in a culture for a long time you will be aware of what is acceptable and what is not
  • Real life application in the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder


  • Changes over time and therefore there may be a lack of agreement through generations - homosexuality was seen as a mental disability
  • Not a sole explanation
  • Cultural relativism - behaviour in cultures vary tremendously from one to the next e.g. hearing voices is normal in some cultures but would be seen as a mental health condition in the UK.
  • Can lead to human rights abuses


This definition allows abnormality to change over different cultures which allows variation within cultural beliefs however the problem with diagnosing people with an abnormality through deviation from social norms is that many of these beliefs or behaviours that are not part of the majority are not necessarily abnormal or a concern for mental health and therefore it is not a helpful diagnosis tool. 


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