There are three main possible definitions of abnormality. These are:
- Deviation from social norms
- Failure to function adequately
- Deviation from ideal mental health
Deviation from social norms
social norms are explicit and implicit rules in society about what is acceptable.
explicit- legal laws (breaking these results in being labelled criminal)
implicit- 'unwritten' rules (e.g. standing too close to a stranger)
breaking social norms will result in being labelled deviant
Cultural issues - based on western ideals, whats abnormal in one place is normal in another
Eccentricity- may merely be eccentric (outgoing), doesn't mean they're abnormal but falls under this definition = wrongly labelled abnormal
Risk of abuse- some cultures strongly impose their norms and values upon individuals (e.g. in the past, people who went against politicians were labelled abnormal and sent to mental institutes)
Failure to funciton adequately
individual experiences severe suffering and is unable to function normally on a daily basis.
GAF scale is used to assess functioning ability (10-suicidal, risk to self + others, 100- superior, able to function)