Abnormality (definitions)

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Deviation from social norms


Behaviour that is seen as deviating from social norms, deviating from rules that direct a person's conduct is seen as undesirable by the majority of people.

Social norms are those set by a social group which are those standard and expectations of acceptable behaviour - they do change over time. 


Context - wearing a bathing suit at the beach is seen as normal, whereas wearing a bathing suit into a shopping centre is seen as abnormal

Evaluation points

Social norms chage over time so treatments to people in different situations change

We can compare how different people are because everyone is the same 

Defined in terms of social, moral and attitudes of the time and maybe subject to abuse

Cannot offer a comcplete definition of abnormality

Failure to Function Adequately


Abnormal behaviour is judged in terms of being able to function adequately 

Judged as being able to poerate within certain acceptable limits

Individuals who cannot look after themselves or who are perceived to be irrational or out of


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