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ABNORMALITY
DEFINITIONS OF ABNORMALITY
Deviation from social norms
o Any behaviours that breaks the norms and moral standards of society lead to a person being classed
as abnormal
o EV ­ too dependent on context, time and culture and social deviancy isn't always bad.
Failure to function adequately ­ Rosenhan and Seligman
o If a person meets any of these characteristics they are classed as being abnormal, the more they meet
the more abnormal they are. Suffering, unpredictable behaviours and observer discomfort are three
examples.
o EV ­ still a value of judgement upon a person, failure to function can be a normal reaction (eg. Shock)
and not all MHP have FFA.
Deviation from ideal mental health ­ Jahoda
o A person needs to meet all six of her characteristics to be classed as having ideal mental health. Three
examples are positive selfattitude, good adaptation to environment and realistic perception of
reality.
o EV ­ definition is vague, many people lack her characteristics so when do we class someone as
abnormal?
BIOLOGICAL APPROACH
Relies on specific aetiology ­ the idea that abnormality has a specific cause that can be identified, measured
and treated.
EXPLAINING ABNORMALITY
BING
o Brain injury, Infection, Neural factors, Genetics
Phineas Gage
o Suffered a brain injury and changed from a hard working family man to being violent, suffering mood
swings and reportedly even starting to molest children ­ shows support for brain injury as a cause of
abnormality.
Genetics
o Individuals may inherit a predisposition to certain illnesses. These are carried on in genes, through
DNA, which pass from one generation to the next.
o Schizophrenia has been linked to genetics
EVALUATION OF THE BIOLOGICAL APPROACH
Strengths
o Modern technology can provide constant support for BA.
o Drugs that control NT's work as treatment options
o Scientific in its explanation
o No patient blame
Weaknesses
o Reductionist ­ ignores other factors such as the environment a person is brought up in

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Genetics can't provide a complete explanation ­ diathesis stress model
o Drugs don't work for everyone ­ 40% report successful treatment, side effects are massive too
o Shortterm solution that focuses on curing symptoms not the cause
o Might encourage patients to become passive and removes independence.…read more

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COGNATIVE APPROACH
All our actions are the result of cognitive processes. Some individuals make cognitive errors, which do not
reflect reality but heavily influence their behaviour. Some also make inaccurate attributions to explain and
understand the world. This is described as maladaptive behaviours, which are abnormal.
EXPLANTATION OF ABNORMALITY
The cognitive triad ­ Beck
Negative views about the world, the future and oneself lead to abnormality as they cause cognitive errors
which result in inaccurate attributions that can cause maladaptive behaviours.…read more

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Over emphasis on sex
PSYCHODYNAMIC TREATMENTS
Free association
o `talking therapy'. Patients are free to talk about anything they wish; the therapist will simply listen.
o However, can take months, but it allows the unconscious mind to emerge.…read more

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