Defintions of abnormality

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  • Deviation from social norms:
  • Social norms are the behaviours, values and beliefs that are acceptable and bring about approval.
  • Some rules are unspoken but are agree on. These rules will vary from culture to culture.
  • People who deviate from from these norms are often regarded as deviant or abnormal in some way for example showing inappropiate emotions.
  • This definition can be helpful as to identifying mental problems. we learn what to expect from them and when they deviate we become concerned for them.


  • One weakness is that this definiton does not always mean that someone is psychologically abnormal. As a society we can often decide that someone deviating is eccentric rather than abnormal. However, when behaviour becomes too eccentric they may cross the line into mental illness.
  • Another weakness is the role of context. Much of a person behaviour is often context dependent, and therefore out of context it may seem bizarre
  • A third weakness is changes with the times. What is considered to be deviant by one generation may be perfectly acceptable to another.
  • The importance of culture - some cultures have different social norms to others.

Failure to fuction adequately:

  • People with pschological disorders are often experience considerable suffering and distress and general inability to cope with everyday activities such as going to work.
  • so common is failure to fuction adequately doctors are required to take this into account when diagnosing someone with pschologiacl problems.
  • An example would be severe depression leads to empathy and…


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