Abnormality Booklet for AS AQA A Psychology

A booklet on abnormality for AS AQA A Psychology. It has the definitions of abnormality (DSN, FFA, DIMH) and the explanations and treatments (Biological, Behavioural, Psychodynamic and Cognitive). It's pretty detailed I think, seriously it took me ages to write all these pages. Umm it has evaluations for everythingand I even drew the synapses on my laptop which was effort. Enjoy :)

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1
ABNORMALITY
Definitions of Abnormality
DEVIATION FROM SOCIAL NORMS (DSN):
SOMEONE WOULD BE DEEMED ABNORMAL IF THEY WERE TO VIOLATE SOCIAL NORMS.
Social norms are behaviours that are seen acceptable and expected within a given society. They can be
either explicit (e.g. laws; violating them could mean breaking the law) or implicit (based on the
conventions of a particular society; implied e.g. being polite). Behaviour that deviates from social
norms can be incomprehensible to others and make them feel threatened or uncomfortable.
EVALUATION
STRENGTHS:
Distinguishes between desirable and undesirable behaviour.
Takes into account the effect on others.
LIMITATIONS:
The concept of social deviancy is related to moral codes or standards, subjectively defined by a
society, and social attitudes and norms change over time. Therefore, this definition of
abnormality is era-dependent. For example, homosexuality was a psychiatric disorder in
America up until the 1960's. Since then attitudes have changed.
Much of our behaviour is content specific and, out of context may seem strange. So, it
depends on where you are, e.g. getting drunk at your grans or your friends. Therefore, there is
too much criteria.
This definition doesn't differentiate between eccentricity and abnormality. Some people may
be socially deviant because they have chosen a non-conformist lifestyle. (e.g. Lady Gaga)
Social norms may vary according to culture and sub-culture so a behaviour seen as deviant in
one society may be quite acceptable in another. This is referred to as cultural relativity. For
example, the British culture is very different to tribes living in the Amazon Rainforest.
This definition can also be used as a means of control. When trying to create the easiest
environment, social behaviour is easiest. However, people who have stood up and protested
have changed the world, e.g. Rosa Parks, the Suffragettes etc.
FAILURE TO FUNCTION ADEQUATELY (FFA):
SOMEONE WOULD BE CONSIDERED ABNORMAL IF THEY ARE UNABLE TO COPE WITH EVERYDAY
LIFE.
They may be unable to perform the behaviours necessary for day-to-day living, for example self-care,
holding down a job, interacting meaningfully with others etc. When a particular behaviour interferes
with everyday life then it might be regarded as abnormal. Rosenhan and Seligman (1989) suggest the
following characteristics of abnormal behaviour:

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Suffering (if the behaviour causes distress to the individual e.g. depression/anorexia)
Maladaptiveness (behaviour prevents an individual from achieving major life goals e.g. careers,
relationships etc. They are unable to adapt to a different situation)
Vividness and unconvientiality (behaviour stands out and is unusual in certain situations. A lack
of control and the behaviour rules you e.g. alcoholism)
Unpredictability (behaviour is unexpected and uncontrolled and can't rationalise it, e.g.…read more

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Many people engage in behaviour that is maladaptive, harmful or threatening to themselves,
but aren't abnormal e.g. drinking.
DEVIATION FROM IDEAL MENTAL HEALTH (DIMH):
SOMEONE IS CONSIDERED ABNORMAL IF THEY DEVIATE FROM WHAT WE DEFINE AS NORMAL..
In this definition, instead of defining what is abnormal, we define what behaviour is normal/ideal and
anything that deviates from this is regarded as abnormal.…read more

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THE BIOLOGICAL/MEDICAL EXPLANATION
AO1-MAIN ASSUMPTIONS:
Psychological disorders result from physical causes
Mental illness is diagnosed through identifying recognised symptoms
Once diagnosed, mental illness can be treated physically e.g. drugs
There are four branches to the biological model:
i. INFECTION: Just as physical illnesses can be caused by micro-organisms such as bacteria and
viruses, so too may mental illnesses. Germs such as bacteria and viruses have been linked to
certain illnesses. For example, Kraft-Ebbing injected paretics with syphilis, which cured their
general paresis (delusions and forgetfulness).…read more

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Conclusions: The results suggest a genetic basis for anorexia and general psychiatric illness. The fact
that the percentage for MZ twins was well below 100% indicates that genes are not wholly
responsible.
Criticisms:
Study ignores the role of environmental factors or nurture in causing anorexia. The
environment certainly plays a role, because it was only a 56% concordance rate for MZ twins.
The 56% could also be down to the environment.…read more

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Treatments of the Biological Approach
Psychosurgery
In the 1930's psychosurgery was developed to treat schizophrenia. It involved destroying brain tissue
connecting higher and lower thinking of the brain. American scientists found that damaging the frontal
lobes and the prefrontal cortex could pacify a previously aggressive chimpanzee. A Portuguese
psychiatrist, Moniz, used these results and aimed to disconnect nerve pathways running from the
frontal lobes to a part of the brain called the thalamus, which is located closer to the center of the
brain.…read more

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Electro convulsive therapy (ECT)
This is where an electric current is passed through the brain, to induce a seizure. It affects the
neurotransmitter activity. It stems from convulsive therapy, where
seizures were induced through other methods such as drugs to treat
severe schizophrenia (1930's) and depression (1950's). Today it is still
used as a last resort for treatment. However, no one knows the
mechanism of the action that causes the results. Ladislas J.…read more

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Drug therapy
Antipsychotics - The earliest drug therapy was
chlorpromazine which was used to treat symptoms such as
hallucinations and paranoia in the 1950's. It worked by
reducing dopamine activity in the brain. The problem is that
the drug has side effects such as Parkinson's. More recently
psychiatrists have prescribed clozapine which works on both
dopamine and serotonin and has fewer side effects
although it can lower the number of WBC's and therefore
affect our immune system. It is usually used for
schizophrenia.…read more

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PSYCHODYNAMIC EXPLANATION
AO1-MAIN ASSUMPTIONS:
Abnormality is the result of psychological causes rather than physical.…read more

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The three parts of the psyche are driven by different desires. A healthy psyche should be balanced; it
has a strong ego that is able to satisfy both the demands of the id and the ego. Problems arise if this
balance is not maintained.…read more

Comments

rose

Thank you! This was really helpful

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