Definitions of abnormality

  • Created by: Alice1425
  • Created on: 05-07-18 12:08
What is statistical infrequency?
Descriptive statistics such as mean median and mode are used as a way to represent the typical value in any set out data, someone who lies outside of these typical values are considered abnormal.
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Give a strength of statistical infrequency as a definition of abnormality
good for diagnosing some disorders where classification is made through questionnaire or a rating eg, levels of autistic/depressive/OCD/phobic tendencies can be measured using a questionnaire. high levels of symptoms are classed as abnormal.
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Give another strength of statistical infrequency as a definition of abnormality
it is quantitative so the results can be easily and objectively measured, so it is a fair way of allocating resources.
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Give a limitation of statistical infrequency as a definition of abnormality
doesn't distinguish between desirable & undesirable abnormality e.g someone with an IQ >130 can be classed as abnormal but this is not an undesirable trait.
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Give another limitation of statistical infrequency as an definition of abnormality
where do we place the cut off point? it has to be decided where we separate normality from abnormality statistically, the subjective nature of this definition places its legitimacy in question
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give another limitation of statistical infrequency as a definition of abnormality
The arbitrary cut off point disadvantages those who may require support but are just outside of the cut-off point, e.g someone with an IQ of 71 may have special needs but will not receive help because the cut off point is 70.
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What is deviation from social norms?
social norms are rules set by a culture, anyone who behaves differently from these norms is classed as abnormal. some are implicit e.g. politeness, whereas some are policed by laws e.g public violence. they may change over time (e.g. homosexuality)
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Give a strength of deviation from social norms as a definition of abnormality
it distinguishes between desirable and undesirable behaviours. It takes into account the effect that behaviour has on individuals within the society e.g depression. Hence this definition takes into consideration the consequences of behaviours.
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Give a limitation of deviation from social norms as a definition of abnormality.
cultural relativism- behaviours differ between cultures. e.g hearing voices. therefore the definition is not universal as normality differs between cultures. DSM & ICD based on western culture, cannot be applied to all. questions legitimacy.
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Give another limitation of deviation from social norms as a definition of abnormality.
Morals of the leaders of a society- whoever is in charge may define behaviours as deviant as they go against the views of the people in charge. those actions are accepted as deviant, when they are just a way of controlling e.g. violent protest
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what is failure to function adequately?
range of characteristics that suggest someone is failing to function adequately: Observer discomfort, personal distress, maladaptive behaviour and irrational/unexpected behaviours.
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what is observer discomfort?
e.g standing too close to another person, not making eye contact when conversing, observers notice and feel uncomfortable
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What is personal distress?
people suffering psychological abnormality often report they are in discomfort or are suffering.
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what is maladaptive behaviour?
not being able to adapt appropriately to new situations means they cannot achieve personable goals e.g succeeding at work, this can be considered abnormal.
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what is irrational/unexpected behaviour?
e.g delusional beliefs, this often leads to the other three criteria.
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Give a strength of failure to function adequately as a definition of abnormality
definition makes sense in order to assist the person's quality of life. The difference between just feeling down and being clinically depressed is the disruption it has on the persons life, these criteria make it easier to identify, good definition.
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give a limitation of failure to function adequately as a definition of abnormality
cultural relativism- defining adequate function differs from culture to culture, standard of one culture is being used to measure another. may explain why lower class and non-white patients are often diagnosed with more mental disorders.
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give another limitation of failure to function adequately as a definition of abnormality.
subjective evaluation- judging the extent to which these features are considered abnormal is subjective to the observer, lacks scientific validity. e.g personal distress could just be grief/bereavement & not a mental disorder.
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give another limitation of failure to function adequately as a definition of abnormality.
adaptive or maladaptive?- dysfunctional behaviour may be functional for the individual. some mental disorders may lead to extra attention, this definition fails to take into account the rewards gained from appearing to fail to function adequately
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what is deviation from ideal mental health?
*see Jahoda cards*
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Give a strength of statistical infrequency as a definition of abnormality

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good for diagnosing some disorders where classification is made through questionnaire or a rating eg, levels of autistic/depressive/OCD/phobic tendencies can be measured using a questionnaire. high levels of symptoms are classed as abnormal.

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