Clinical Psychology Revision
Clinical Psychology – the study of mental health and mental disorders, and involves the diagnosis, explanation for them and treatments of various mental disorders
DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) – helps classify and diagnose individuals and then treat them
Social Norms definition – behaviour which conforms to social norms in ‘normal’ and behaviour that doesn’t is ‘abnormal’
Aspects that influences social norms:
· Age and gender – 3 year old can be naked on a beach older person can’t
· Culture – hearing voices in one culture is good whereas western cultures see it as bad
· Context/situation – fancy dress for a party is normal but not for daily wear
· Historical context – what was considered normal at one time in history isn’t in others
+ Deviation from the norm can be a useful way to identify mental illnesses. One of the main ways that psychological problems are identified is when an individual’s behaviour changes. This may be vital for those with depression as they are often unable to help themselves due to lack of motivation or being unaware they are depressed.
+ There is a shift in emphasis from the person being seen as abnormal to the behaviour they exhibit. This prevents us from seeing people as abnormal which could lead to labelling and stigmas. This in turn would help discourage problems with self-fulfilling prophecies which can be destructive.
- Not all incidents of behaviour that don’t conform to norms show abnormality for example those who do exceptionally well at school are not called abnormal even though their behaviour differs from the social norm.
- It is subjective and can be distorted in that the more powerful decide what is right or desirable e.g. Nazi Germany. It can also be a means of social control in maintaining the status quo or the political climate at the time.
Statistical Norms Definition – behaviour which is statistically rare is said to be ‘abnormal’
We can work out whether a person’s behaviour is statistically abnormal by using standardised tests which gather quantitative data. Most psychological variables have what is known as a normal distribution – a bell curve or a normal distribution curve occurs.
To be classified as normal someone needs to fall within 1 or 2 deviations if they fall in the 3rd or higher deviation they are classified as abnormal.
+ It is favoured by most researchers because it represents a more objective way of deciding what is and isn’t abnormal. Other definitions are open to interpretation which could be influenced by both social and cultural factors.
+ It’s easier to apply than other definition. As numbers are more absolute, a single figure can be used as a cut-off point.
- The statistical criterion is inevitably rather than arbitrary i.e. a person with an IQ of 69 would be classified as abnormal but an IQ of 71 would be normal.…