Definitions of abnormality

  • Created by: 15mjanes
  • Created on: 14-12-18 18:25

Definitions of Abnormality

Statistical Infrequency:

  • someone is abnormal when they are statistically rare.
  • Fails to recognise that a trait may be desirable (such as a high IQ)
  • Gifted individuals would be classed as 'abnormal' according to this definition.
  • It is an objective way to define abnormality (based on data) if a cut-off point is agreed on.
  • However, something that is statistically common may also be abnormal: Depression affects 27% of elderlly people. It being more common, doesn't make it any less of a problem.

Deviation from Social Norms:

  • the violation of the unwritten rules of what is acceptable behaviour within a certain social group.
  • The behaviour may make others feel threatened or uncomfortable.
  • It varies amongst different cultures. What is normal in one culture may be abnormal in another. This is an example of culture relativism.
  • It defines abnormality by looking at the society that they are in.
  • Social norms vary over time. Homosexuality used to be deemed a mental disorder but now it is accepted.

Failure to function


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