psychological abnormality

Psychological Abnormality; definitions and evaluations
cultural differences

  • Created by: Sian
  • Created on: 08-04-12 13:56

Psychological Abnormality

How do you define psychological 'abnormality'?
-the deffinition is not clear cut!

There are three ways of describing what psychological abnormailty is;

1)Deviation from Social Norms

2)Failure to function adequetly

3)Deviation from ideal mental health

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Psychological abnormality

Psychological abnormality;
1)Deviation from social norms

-Going against societys codes of 'normal' behaviour

1)Social norms vary from one society to another and standards change. What is concidered 'normal' to one society/culture will differ from another.

2)Social norms change over time; for example- elaborate wigs were normal in the victorian eara, now they are uncommon and brake the codes of 'normal' behaviour.

3)'Norms' must be concidered in context; for example- A barristor wearing a wig for work is accseptable, wearing it shopping isnt.

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Psychological Abnormailty

Psychological Abnormailty
2)Failure to function adequetly
-Cannot maintain social relashionships and unable to hold down a job, do not look after themselves properly or have a social life.

A way of deciding if someone is failing to function adequetly is; GAF (global assemesment of functoning questionnaire)

1)Who descides what an acceptable level of functioning is?
2)Content of behaviour; what may be adequate to one culture may be inadequete to another.

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Psychological Abnormailty

Psychological Abnormailty

3) Deviation from ideal mental health
-individual fails to meet all criterias which would classify you as 'normal.'

Jahoda's criteria for ideal mental health

J identified six criterias necessary for ideal mental health, these include; Possitive attitudes towards self, self actualisation of ones potential, resistance to stress, personal autonomy, accurate perception of reality and adaption to enviroments (definititions can be found on a seperate set of cards)
1)The criteria are very difficult to meet.
2)What is concidered mentally healthy varies across cultures
3)It emphasises what is healthy, rather than concentrating on illness.

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Psychological Abnormality

Psychological abnormality
Cultural realsim

An evaluative point which is refered to within each definition is the effect of different cultures. Different cultures have different views on what is 'normal' and 'healthy.'

Some disorders are specific to some cultures, or found in some populations more than others. Its difficult to say whether the disorders are really less common amongst some people, possibly for genetic reasons, or whether there are differences in diagnosis.

For example: British African-Caribbean people are more likely to be schizophrenic compared to other members of the population; reasons could be genetic, to do with social conditions and stress, or bias and prejudice in their medical systems.

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