Psychology - Abnormality

defining abnormality for as level psychology

  • Created by: Tasmin
  • Created on: 27-05-10 14:36

Defining Abnormality

There are three main possible definitions of abnormality. These are:

  • Deviation from social norms
  • Failure to function adequately
  • Deviation from ideal mental health
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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)

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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)

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