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One of the attempts to define abnormality is through the use of statistical infrequency. This is when statistics can be used to define the norm for any group of people.

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One of the attempts to define abnormality is through the use of statistical infrequency. This is when statistics can be used to define the norm for any group of people. A norm is something that is regular or typical. If one is bale to define what is common, then one can also get an idea of what is not common i.e. abnormal. For example with a class of 10 students, 9 were right-handed; the one person that left-handed would be defined and classed as abnormal. This can be further illustrated through the use of a graph. In a normal distribution (Symmetrical bell-shaped curve) most people are in the central group clustered around the mean and the fewer people are at either extreme. This model is good as in some situations it is appropriate to use statistical measure to define abnormality. The statistical infrequency model works better for some human behaviours than others. For example, mental retardation is defined in terms of normal distribution. ...read more.


This shows that the statistical infrequency does not seem to be too successful as it is hard to decline cut-of points and identify desirable and undesirable behaviours, which therefore highlights that this may be difficult to use in defining abnormality. Another attempt to define abnormality comes from the deviation from social norms. In all societies there are standards of acceptable behaviour that are set by social groups. These social norms included morals and well as expectations of how one should behave or act. These norms are usually set for good reasons. On such example is politeness. Abnormal behaviour is seen as deviation from implicit rules about how one ought to behave. Anything that violates these rules is considered abnormal. This model does distinguish between desirable and undesirable behaviour, which is a limitation of the statistical infrequency definition. This deviancy model takes account the effect the behaviour has on others as well. This shows further success than that of the first model and identifies that abnormality can be defined using this method to some extent. ...read more.


Therefore failure to function adequately refers to an individual's ability or inability to cope with day-to-day living. This particular model allows us to view mental disorder from the point of view of the person experiencing it. It is quite easy and simple to judge objectively and to see whether treatment is required. However in order for the model to succeed someone needs to decide what is "adequate." Some people may be quite happy with their situation and others may be unaware that they are coping. It is others who take the judgements about abnormal behaviour and may make an individual feel uncomfortable. For example, many schizophrenics do not know or feel as though they have a problem but their behaviour may be distressing. Also, it may be that apparent dysfunctional behaviour is adaptive and functional for the individuals. For example, eating disorders welcome extra attention and individuals such as cross-dressers often make a living out of such acts. This shows that it may hard to determine the extent to which something is "adequate" therefore overriding the success of the model. ...read more.

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