• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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

    These distortions are: negative thoughts, irrational beliefs, illogical errors (such as polarized thinking), and overgeneralization. It is believed that these thought processes are automatic and take place without full awareness. Ellis and Beck claimed that cognition (thinking processes) occurring between a stimulus and a response could cause the feeling component of a response.

  2. Psychological Abnormality

    the only way of proving their individuality is the assumption of control over what belongs to ones self - the body. Therefore thinness and starvation are signs of self-control and independence. Though one will see the truth in above psychodynamic accounts there are at least two observations, which disapproves them.

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

    The problem then is how do you monitor good mental health? Also how good does good have to be for you not to be abnormal. The major problem with this description is that it is very vague and whilst no one can argue that the description is wrong, it is

  2. Free essay

    Discuss the range of methods available to the psychologist.

    The IV in this study is people working alone and people working in groups and the DV is whether people can generate more ideas if working alone or in groups. When carrying out the laboratory experiment the researcher needs to attempt to control the extraneous variables (EV).

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

    Therefore, both in mental health and physical characteristics the use of statistical infrequency is not always reliable as each variable may be viewed differently- some are desirable to be within normal ranges, whilst others are desirable if they are 'abnormal'.

  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. The geographical article chosen for the purpose for this assessment is an essay by ...

    However, Holte (1967) has argued that the debate is based on a false dichotomy; the two approaches are not at opposite ends of the spectrum but are co-existing. Many psychologists' believe the nomothetic and ideographic approaches are complimentary and interdependent and great emphasis has been placed on investigating the relationship between individual cases and general principles.

  2. Defining abnormality

    It is now known that some chemical drugs affect the nervous system which in turn produce the symptoms of certain mental disorders which seems to suggest that a chemical imbalance is at the root of the problem. However, some psychologists disagree, believing that this chemical imbalance is the effect as opposed to the cause of mental problems.

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