Diagnosing Dysfunctional Behaviour OCR

Dysfunctional behaviour: Diagnosis section

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  • Created by: Brid
  • Created on: 10-06-12 10:41

Definitions of dysfunctional behaviour

Deviation from statistical norm: Deviating from the average. Anyone at either end of the normal distribution curve is 'abnormal'. e.g. Tall/short, high IQ/low IQ.

Deviation from social norm: Commonly held norms of society, how people think others should behave. i.e. Culture. These norms can vary over time.

Deviation from ideal mental health: If characteristics could be determined for ideal mental health, people who do not possess those are seen as 'abnormal'. 

Failure to function adequately: People who exp personal distress and seek help from health care proff's adopt the 'sick role' that goes with it.  

Rosenhan and Seligman (1989): Elements of abnormal behaviour; suffering, loss of control, violation of moral and ideal standards, irationality maladaptiveness.

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Categorising dysfunctional behaviour (CDI-10)

The World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a system called the 'International classification of diseases' (ICD). 

Now at version 10, the ICD-10 is used in the UK anmd other countries. It has 11 categories of mental disorder.

Each disorder has a description of its main features, and any important associated features.

Categories include:



Mood (affective) disorders

Personality disorders. 

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Categorising dysfunctional behaviour (DSM-IV)

The 'Diagnostic and statistical manual' of menatal disorders (DSM-IV) is the USA's main diagnostic tool.

The DSM-IV is seen as more holistic than the CDI-10, which can be reductionist, because clinicians have to consider whether the disorder is from Axis 1, clincial disorders and/or Axis 2, personality disorders. Then the patients physical condition is considered as well as any social or environmental problems.

Classifications such as:

Learning disorders

Communication disorders


Sleep disorders.

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Evaluation of tools

Evaluation of tools-

  • 3 main reasons for using the systems....1. Aids communication between professionals 2. Allows groups to be compared so the causes fo disorders can be researched 3. Helps provide best treatment.
  • Reliability- Do all psychiatirists use the same systems and get the same diagnosis?? (Pedersen et al- 71% NOT 100!)
  • Validity- Does the system allow for correct doagnosis??===> draw back to AS what did Rosenhan find? Type 1 errors until pointed out then type 2 errors.
  • Usefullness- Gives us a base. What if we didn't have the systems? How would we diagnose?
  • CDI-10 seen as reductionist and DSM-IV seen as holistic.
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Biases in diagnosis - Ford and Widiger

Sex bias in diagnosis of disorders


Self report- health practioners were given scenarios and asked to make daignoses based on the information

IV= Gender of patient


Sex unspecified case histories were diagnosed most often with borderline personality disorder   

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