Slides in this set
What Is Abnormality?
· The definition of Abnormality is difficult to
· It still remains to be based on a persons
· Psychologists have developed three definitions of
1.) Deviation from social norms
2.) Failure to function adequately
3.) Deviation from ideal mental health…read more
Deviation From Social Norms
· Social norms are acceptable and expected
patterns of behaviour in society.
· These social norms are set up by a social group
and stuck to by those socialised into the group.
· This definition states that abnormality is a
deviation or violation from acceptable behaviour
and social norms.
· E.G. Under this definition, someone who laughed
at a funeral would be considered abnormal, as this
violates the social norm of being upset and paying
respects to the dead at a funeral.…read more
+ It is a useful. It is a practical way to identify mental health
problems as the behaviour "stands out"
- Not all behaviour that deviates from social norms indicates
psychological abnormality. E.G. the person may simply not
agree with the majority value
- What is known as social deviance is defined by the context in
which it occurs e.g. walking topless around a beach would not
be considered abnormal, but walking around town topless in the
winter would maybe be considered abnormal
- Definitions change over time. What is socially acceptable now
may not have been 50 years ago e.g. Homosexuality was seen
as a mental disorder until 1973.
- The definition is subject to abuse. Allowing tis definition means
that serious abuse of human rights can occur.
Attempts to define abnormality in social norms depends on
cultural factors. Different cultures attach different meanings to
actions. E.G. hearing voices in the UK seen as an indication of
schizophrenia but seen as acceptable and even desirable in
other cultures.…read more