Psychopathology revision - Paper 1

  • Created by: char3112
  • Created on: 24-05-18 12:32


STATISTICAL INFREQUENCY - Occurs when an individual has a less common characteristics, for example being more depressed or less intelligent then most of the population

The most obvious way to define anything as 'normal' or 'abnormal' is according to the number of times we observe it - statistics are about numbers. According to the statistical definition any relatively usual behaviour or characteristic can be thought of as 'normal', and any behaviour different to this is 'abnormal'.

EXAMPLE - The average IQ is set at 100. Most people (68%) have an IQ in the range from 85 - 115. Only 2% of people have a score below 70. Those individuals scoring below 70 are very unusual or 'abnormal', and are liable to recieve a diagnosis of a psychological disorder - Intellectual disability disorder 

EVALUATION - Real-Life Application (intellectual disability disorder). - There is a place for statistical deviation in thinking about what are normal and abnormal behaviours and characteristics. Actually all assessment of patients with mental disorders includes some kind of measurement of how severe their symptoms are as compared to statistical norms (as distinct from social norms). statistical deviation is thus a useful part of clinical assessment

Unusual  Characteristics can be positive - IQ scores over 130 are just unusual as those below 70, but we wouldnt think of super-intelligence as an undesirable characteristics that needs treatment. Just because very few people display certain behaviours does make the behaviour statistically abnormal. This is a serious limitation to the concept of statistical deviation and means that it would never be used alone to make a diagnosis.

DEVIATION FROM SOCIAL NORMS - Concerns behaviour that is different from the accepted standards of behaviour in a community or society

Most of us notice people whose behaviour is a deviation from social norms, i.e, when a person behaves in a way that is different from how we expect people to behave. Groups of people choose to define behaviour as abnormal on the basis that it offends their sense of what is 'acceptable' or the norm. We are making a collective judgement as a society about what is write

Norms are specific to the culture we live in - Social norms may be different for each generation and every culture, so there are relatively few behaviours that would be considered universally abnormal on the basis that they breach social norms.

EXAMPLE - Antisocial personality disorder - A person with antisocial personality disorder (psychopathy) is impulsive, aggressive and irresponsible. According to the DSM-5 (the manual used by psychiatrists to diagnose mental disorder) one important symptom of antisocial personality disorder is an 'absence of prosocial internal standards associated with failure to conform to lawful or culturally normative ethical behaviour.

EVALUATION - Can lead to human rights abuses - Too much reliance on deviation from social norms to understand abnormality can also lead to systematic abuse of human rights. The classifications appear ridiculous nowadays - but only because our social norms


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