• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Clinical assessment must also take a person's cultural background into account'- to what extent have definitions of abnormality been limited by cultural diversity?

Extracts from this document...


Amy Stuart-Cook 'Clinical assessment must also take a person's cultural background into account'- to what extent have definitions of abnormality been limited by cultural diversity? All ways of defining of abnormality are limited to a certain extent by cultural variations. This makes it difficult for psychologists to be sure that their definition technique would be effective and accurate in diagnosing all cases of abnormality. The main issue for psychologists regarding cultural diversity is that what may be considered normal in one place may be abnormal in another and therefore psychologist must consider this fact before making a diagnosis. Although the deviation from statistical norm and deviation from ideal mental health definitions are affected by cultural differences as I will discuss briefly later, it is the other two definitions which are affected on a larger scale. ...read more.


This problem was evident in the case of a number of African men who were often diagnosed with Schizophrenia in the Western world until it was found that their behaviour was completely acceptable in relation to the cultural rules they were used to living by. This definition is especially vulnerable to the limits of cultural of differences as it relies totally on social norms to judge normality and therefore it is most likely to be affected by cultural variations. The second definition which is strongly affected by cultural differences is the failure to function adequately approach. This approach by Rosenhan et al. suggests 7 standards which can be used to judge if a person is abnormal. These elements include suffering, unpredictability and irrationality. However, it is the observer discomfort and violation of moral and ideal standards that are most problematic to judge due to cultural differences. ...read more.


The deviation from statistical norm approach is also affected but just in that a person may be out the bounds of normality as some things are more common in certain cultures. The deviation from ideal mental health may also give an abnormal outcome simply because factors included in this definition are not goals strived by all cultures for a person to be normal. For example a collectivist society would not strive for total autonomy like people in Western society. In conclusion, therefore, all the definitions of abnormality are limited by cultural problems but to different extents. This cultural division problem means that experimentation is limited to one culture and therefore conclusions of investigations cannot be generalised effectively to incorporate many different cultures. Therefore it is difficult and possibly very inaccurate to judge people from other cultures by our standards and to class them as abnormal because of this. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level The Psychology of Individual Differences section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level The Psychology of Individual Differences essays

  1. Consider the Problems Faced by Psychologists in the Definition of Abnormality

    believe 2.5% to be suitable, whilst others may think up to 25%- there is a significant difference. There are some disorders which are surprisingly common, such as depression and anxiety. In 1992 Angst found that approximately 1 in 20 Americans are severely depressed, and 1 in 10 people will have

  2. Outline and Evaluate the Biological, Psychodynamic and Cognitive Explanations of Abnormality

    As most of his client's were higher-class women from Vienna, the basis of his theory is somewhat biased. It does not take into account the way people from different cultures or social classes may react to stressful situations. For example, certain people (due to their upbringing)

  1. Describe and evaluate the concepts of abnormal behaviour When we talk about abnormal behaviour ...

    a bit like saying that not being tall means you are short. There is no middle ground. In a society as broad and diverse as the one we live in to day having a middle ground in diagnosing any kind of medical illness is paramount.

  2. Defining abnormality

    In classical conditioning, it is not the object or the situation, which is the cause of the fear, but the conditioned response to the object or situation. For example, it is the response of feeling sick and dizzy when looking down from a high building that causes the fear of heights, not the height itself.

  1. "Attempts to define abnormality are always limited by cultural differences" - Consider how definitions ...

    Yet different societies have different standards, and different expectations to what they regard as normal, and so this definition fails when trying to sum up abnormality as a whole. The Deviation From Ideal Mental Health definition looked at the idea of mental health in oppose to mental illness, and put

  2. Cross-Cultural Variations

    Many different studies have been carried out across the world in countries such as Africa, Japan, Germany, China and the US and a meta-analysis can be used to draw general conclusions from the studies.

  1. Free essay

    Discuss the range of methods available to the psychologist.

    Questionnaires consist of a set of questions usually in a written form used to collect information about a topic or subject. Questionnaires can contain both open questions and closed questions. Closed questions have a range of answers which the participants must select one from the list.

  2. Level 2 Counselling skills. Theories -CBT, Psychodynamic and Person Centred.

    Being creative and compassionate. The psychological setting which helps us realise these potentials is one where we feel free from threat, both physically and psychologically.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work