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Definitions of abnormalities
1. What does the term abnormality mean?
This is a psychological condition or behaviour that departs from norm and
is harmful and distressing to individuals or those around them. These
behaviours are usually those that violates from society's ideas of what is
an appropriate level of functioning.
2. What is deviation from social norms?
Abnormal behaviour is seen as a deviation from implicit rules about how
one `ought' to behave. Anything that violates these rules is considered
In any society there is a social norm which includes standards of
acceptable behaviour set by the social group, and adhered by those
socialised into that group. Therefore any individual violating the social
norms are seen as deviant.
An example, politeness, which tends to bring interpersonal relation.
People who are rude or are behaving socially deviant because others
find it difficult to interact with them.
However, social standards are reluctant to more serious moral issues
such as what is acceptable in sexual behaviour.
3. Outline 3 criticisms for this definition?
The concepts of this definition vary as time changes. As what is socially
acceptable today may not have been socially accepted 50years ago. For
example, today homosexuality is acceptable but in past it was included
under sexual and gender identity disorders.
In many cases there is no clear line between what an abnormal
deviation is and what is simply more harmless eccentricity. For example,
being rude is a deviant behaviour but not evidence of mental
Some social norms can be influenced by cultural factors, which aren't
considered. As some disorders are perhaps defined or diagnosed in
different ways in different places by different groups.
4. What is failure to function adequately?

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Definitions of abnormalities
From an individual's point of view, abnormality can be judged in terms of
not being able to cope to day-to-day situations.
For example, feeling depressed, this can be coped as long as you
continue to go to work, eat meals, wash cloths, go about day-to-day
living. However, as soon as any other disorder interferes with such
things, then individual perhaps label their behaviour as abnormal.
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Definitions of abnormalities
Integration = being able to cope with stressful
Autonomy = being independent and self-regulating
Mastery of environment = including the ability to
love, function at work and interpersonal relations,
adjust new situations and solve problems.
This modal suggests that absence of these criteria indicates abnormality
and potential mental disorder.
(Remember this by; Say Personal stuff In Amazing Myths)
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