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Deviation from social rules

Abnormal behaviour is seen as as deviation from implicit rules about how one is supposed to behave. These rules and norms is set by the society. One example of a social norm, is politeness. Anyone that violates these is seen as abnormal, behaviours such as paedophilia. Such behaviours as seen called socially deviant.


  • Suspectible to abuse, e.g. excluding noncnonformists ot political dissenters.
  • Deviance is hard to identify beacuse it is realted to context and disagree.
  • Cultural relativism - what is seen as 'normal' changes for culture to culture, for example, to be homosexuall was seen as a mental illness, and still is in some cultures.
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Failure to function adequatley

Failure to function adequatley means not being able to cope with the demands of everyday life, e.g go to work, eat in publick, wash clothes. Abnormal behaviour interferes with day-to-day living. Induvidual judges when their behaviour becomes 'abnormal'.


  • Who judges? Clients may feel quite content even when their behavbiour is clearly dysfunctional.
  • Apperently, dysfunctional behaviour may sometimes be adaptive, e.g depression elicits help form others.
  • Again, cultural relativism - what is considered 'adequate' differs form culture to culture, so may in result om differet diagnoses when applied across cultures.
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Deviation from ideal mental health

Marie Jahoda suggested that using the same criteria as for physical illnesses, i.e absence of signs of health. They consits of 6 criterias : -self-attitudes, self-actualisation, intergration, autonomy, accurate perception of reality, mastery of enviroment.

  • Weaknesses:
    A matter of degree - few people experience all these positive criteria, therefore would all people seen as ''abnormal''...
  • Mental illness do not always have physical causes, so are not the same as physical illnesses.
  • Cultural relativism - Jahoda's criteria reflect induvidualist cultural ideals, e.g. autonomy.
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Deviation from ideal mental health: The six catego

Marie Jahoda suggested these six categories who identitfy mental health.

  • Self-attitudes: having high self-esteek and a strong sense of identity.
  • Personal growth and self-actualisation: the extent to which an individual develops their full capabilities.
  • Integration: such as being able to cope with stressful situations.
  • Autonomy: being independent and self-regulating.
  • Having an accurate perception of reality.
  • Mastery of the invorement: including the ability to love, function at work and in interpersonal relations, adjust to new situations and solve problems.

This model prposes that the absence of these criteria indicates abnormality and potenial mental disorder.

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