AS Psychology Abnormality revision. AQA

Psychology abnormaility revision. :)

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Em Mellor
  • Created on: 19-04-10 13:57

Definitions of abnormality.

Definition one - Deviation from social norms.

Behaviour which is different from the norm.

  • Society has norms which are unwritten rules of accepted behaviour.
  • According to this defintion behaviour that devaites from these norms in considered abnormal.
  • Abnormal behaviour is behaviour that violates these norms.
  • This includes the idea that society identifies behaviour which is deemed desirable.
1 of 7

Limitations of deviaion from social norms.

Limitations of this approach.

  • Subjective - The norms defined by society are subjective, they are based on the opinions of the majority of the population.
  • Change over time - Social attitudes change over time and so do the norms of society. E.g. Women wearing trousers.
  • Value of breaking social norms - Breaking the norms of society for beneficial purposes. E.g. Women protesting about not being able to vote
  • Human rights abuse - Some peopple are punished becasue of their 'abnormalities' E.g. Gay people being put into prison.
  • Cultural Relativism - Social norms vary accross cultures. In the west the normsused to identify abnormal behaviour are based on the majority white population. Some minority groups have been over diagnosed with mental disorders.
2 of 7

Definition two - Failure to function.

Definition two - Failure to function adequately.

  • Suggests someone is unable to live a normal life
  • People are unable to function normally or carry out normal duties or roles. E.g. Going to college, work and getting out of bed.
3 of 7

5 key features of failure to function.

The five key features of Failure the function.

  • Personal Distress- This would include depression and anxiety in some cases it can be perfectly normal.
  • Maladaptiveness - This is when an individual is prevented from attaining satisfactory goals like making friends and going to work.
  • Vividness and unconventional behaviour - This is behaviour which stands out becasue its different. E.g Paraplegic man sailing around the world.
  • Unpredictability & loss of control - Behaviour that you would not expect in the circumstances.
  • Observer discomfort - Behaviour that causes distress and discomfort to others.
4 of 7

Limitations of Failure to function

The limitations of the Failure to function adequately

  • Abnormailty is not always accompanied by dysfunction - People with anti-social problems may not have/should any features of abnormality. E.g. Dr Harold Shipman serial killer showed no key features.
  • Very subjective - We cant be clear on how to measure personal distress. Also at what point does it become abnormal?
5 of 7

Defintion 3. Deviation from ideal mental health.

Deviation from ideal mental health.

  • Abnormailty does not poseess the characteristics which are deemed normal for a healthy person. Such as being able to make friends or develop personally.
  • Jahoda identified characteristics required in order to be mentally healthy.
6 of 7

Features of Deviation from ideal metal health.

Features of Deviation from ideal metal health.

  • Self attitude - Positive - confidence, motivation, high self-esteem.
  • Personl Growth - Potential to keep developing intil you feel you have reached your full potential
  • Autonomy - Being able to make your own decisions
  • Perception of reality - Realistic, not too optomistic/pesamistic, well balanced.
  • Environmental mastery - Comfort of surroundings. Adapt to different circumstances. Meet demands of certain situations.
7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Abnormality resources »