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"PSYCHOLOGICAL ABNORMALITY CAN BE DEFINED IN VARIOUS WAYS, SUCH AS STATISTICAL INFREQUENCY OR DEVIATION FROM IDEAL MENTAL HEALTH; EACH HAS ITS STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES." OUTLINE AND EVALUATE TWO OR MORE DEFINITIONS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ABNORMALITY. If there was ever a word in English language that was difficult to define it would be abnormality. What is abnormality and what makes it abnormal. A definition of abnormality is a psychological condition or behaviour that departs from the norm or is harmful and distressing to the individual or those around him or her. Abnormal behaviours are usually those that violate society's ideas of what is an appropriate level of functioning. Psychological abnormality can be defined in various ways, such as statistical infrequency or deviation from ideal mental health; each has its strengths and weaknesses. The most common of them all is defining abnormality using statistical infrequency. Researcher and the government agencies collect statistics to inform us of what the average is and what is above average. ...read more.


Behaviours that are statistically infrequent in one culture might be statistically frequent in another culture. For example, one of the symptoms of schizophrenia is claiming to hear voices. However, this is an experience that is regarded to be normal to and very desirable to some cultures. Even religious leaders claimed to have heard the voice of GOD speak to them. On the other hand, it is sometimes appropriate to use statistical criterion to define abnormality. For example, mental retardation is defined in terms of normal distribution using the concept of standard deviation to establish a cut-off for abnormality. The model works better on some human behaviour than others. Another psychological definition of the word abnormality is derivation from social norms. This model uses the concept of deviation from the sense of deviant behaviour. This is behaviour which is anti-social or undesirable. In every society there are standards of acceptable behaviour that are set by the social group. ...read more.


While some societies in America find homosexuality acceptable others especially in the deep south of North America find homosexuality to be an abnormal behaviour. The DSM IV is based on the dominant culture in the West (white and middleclass) and these same criteria are applied to other subcultures living in the west. For example Cochrane, 1977 said that African- Caribbean immigrants are seven times more likely to get diagnosed with schizophrenia than white. On the bright side of things, this model distinguishes between desirable and undesirable behaviour, a feature that the statistical infrequency model did not possess. This model takes into account the effect of the behaviour on others. Deviance is defined in terms of transgression of social rules and ideally social rules are established to help people live together in peace and in harmony. Most behaviour that is deviant are socially unacceptable for the rest of us. This way of defining abnormality takes into account the greater good of the society. In a shell, abnormality is defined as a behaviour that damages others or affects others. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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