Abnormality - Definitions

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Abnormality - Definitions

Deviation from Ideal Mental Health

Marie jahoda (1958) devised the concept of ideal mental health and identified six characteristics that individuals should exhibit:

  • Postive attittude towards oneself
  • Self actualisation - personal growth and development
  • Resisting stress - having effective strategies to deal with stress and anxiety
  • Accurate perception of reality - having an objective and realistic view of the world
  • Envionmental mastery - being competent in all aspects of life
  • Autonomy - being independent and self reliant


  • Who can achieve all this criteria? - According to the typical criteria that lables individuals as having ideal mental health, most of us are abnormal to some degree. 
  • Cultural Relativism - If we apply this criteria to people from non-Western or even non-middle-class social groups we will most probably find a higher incidence of abnormality. For example, the criteria of self-actualisation is relevant to members of individualist cultures but not collectivist ones.
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