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Definitions of Abnormality
Deviation from social norms: behaviour deviates from values of society,
violates the approved/acceptable/expected ways of behaving in a particular
society is considered to be abnormal
Limited by cultural relativism-social norms vary from culture to culture, within a culture there are
many sub-cultures that have different opinions as to what is socially deviant-cannot be defined by
acceptable behaviour in one culture
Violation of norms can be positive- for example those who spoke against Nazi, this would be
considered abnormal
Violation of norms is not always abnormal- many behaviours deviate from accepted norms but not
considered psychologically abnormal
Deviation from Ideal Mental Health: defined by failure to achieve 6 qualities proposed
by Jahoda: lack of positive self-attitude, personal growth, autonomy, accurate view of
reality, environmental reality, environmental mastery and resistance to stress-prevent
reaching full potential
Limited by cultural relativism
Difficult to meet strict criteria- few people would meet criteria, illogical since majority considered
Vague Criteria- considered to be unclear and difficult to accurately measure= lacks validity
Failure to function adequately- inability to cope with day-to-day life caused by
psychological distress/discomfort, defined by suffering of individual/others,
maladaptiveness, unconventional behaviour, irrationality and unpredictability
Limited by cultural relativism- bereavement in cultures
Subjective judgements- involves subjective judgement concerning vague criteria
Abnormal people often believe they can function- many abnormal people may not be aware they
have a problem and think they function perfectly in everyday life e.g. schizophrenics

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Models of abnormality:
Biological approach- abnormality caused by physical/biological problems, the closer the
genetic relatedness to an individual with an abnormality, increased likelihood of having
(MZ 48%, DZ 17%)-Biochemistry (imbalance of chemical messengers), Neuroanatomy (Brain
structure, large ventricles=schizophrenia), Infection (schizophrenia higher rate in mothers who had
Research based on well-established science-scientific validity and valuable insights
Not enough consideration to psychological/social factors so biologically deterministic and simplistic-
free will ignored
Ethical implications- ignore psychological factors, treatments based on medical have irreversible
damage and serious…read more

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Criticised for being environmentally deterministic-exaggerate importance of environmental factors
ignoring biological factors or fee will
Ethical implications-individual not blamed for their abnormality however some treatments considered
inhumane/painful e.g.…read more

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Evaluation for ECT:
Effectiveness of ECT- effective for severe depressed , immediate beneficial effect and prevents
suicides , research shown significant benefit of ECT over a placebo and drug therapy
Side effects- impaired memory, headaches, cardiovascular problems and some anxious/fearful and
possible permanent memory impairment research found 30% within last 2 years resulted in
anxiety/permanent fear however fewer side effects now with brain scans showing no structural
Unknown how it works-lack of knowledge questions validity of its use
Psychoanalysis therapy- aim to enable individual…read more

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Albert Ellis, involves 3 steps analysing way they have developed irrational thoughts
through `ABC' technique
Effective treatment-deals with cause not symptoms
Short term and cost effective- cheaper than other therapies as only short term
Not suitable for everyone- requires commitment as homework tasks set between sessions…read more


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