Definition of Abnormality

  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 29-04-11 17:48


2 definitions:

1)Social Norms Definition:

Definition: any behvaiour which deviates from the social norm (what the majority of society deems as acceptable)

Factors to be taken into accont when applying this def.:

  • Culture -one persons behvaiour may be deemed as acceptable in one culture but not in the other.
  • Context - in certain situatons, 'abnormal' behaviour is acceptable e.g. fancy dress for a party is fine but fancy dress for everyday tasks is not fine
  • Age- affects whether behviour is considered 'abnormal' or not. e.g a child can wear fancy dress everyday but a twenty year old man can't.

Evaluation of Social Norms def.:

+ def. takes into account that there is no universal def. of abnormality so what may be considered 'abnormal' in one culture may be 'normal' in another. Abnoramlity is therefore cultural bound

+Takes into account 'abnormal' behaviour is not always undesirable. eg. a high IQ is statistically abnormal but is not undesirable

+ this def. looks at environemental factors, such as social relationships, and how they affect a person's mental health. Therefore, a person considered 'abnormal' is not judged on one flaw.

- the def. us very subjective as there is no fixed def. of abnormality which may lead to minorities being discriminated against and is


Robert Field



Former Member


This was really helpful! Thank you, was struggling to find strengths for these anywhere!