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

Outline two definitions of abnormality and Give two criticisms of the definitions mentioned in your first answer.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Psychology Homework for 26/09/2003 a) Outline two definitions of abnormality b) Give two criticisms of the definitions mentioned in your answer to question a O Out Answer a + b part (i) Deviation from Ideal Mental Health 'Deviation from optimal psychological well-being (a state of contentment that we all strive to achieve). Deviation is characterised by a lack of positive self-attitudes, personal growth, autonomy, accurate view of reality, environmental mastery, and resistance to stress; all of which prevent the individual from accessing their potential, which is known as self-actualisation.' (Psychology for AS Level - Michael W. Eysenck) This is the view that abnormality is related to the lack of a "contented existence". This is a view is put forward by humanistic psychologists (for example Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow). They both felt that a key standard and goal for human endeavour is self-actualisation. ...read more.

Middle

is vitally important. Is it the ideal for the individual? The species? The culture? God? (Weckowicz, 1984). What if the ideal is unrealistic or unobtainable? In conclusion these abstract ideals are hard to define, and like social norms they are relative across groups and across time. Not all societies feel that Roger's and Maslow's aims are ultimate for psychological health. Answer a + b part (ii) Deviation from Social Norms 'Behaviour that does not follow socially accepted patterns; violation of them is considered abnormal.' (Psychology for AS Level - Michael W. Eysenck) All societies have standards or norms for appropriate behaviours and beliefs (expectations about how people should behave as well as what they should think) (Gross and McIlveen, 1998, p. 568). Social norms are defined as rules that regulate human life, including social conventions, explicit laws and implicit cultural standards. ...read more.

Conclusion

Social deviance need also be defined by the context in which behaviour occurs. Screaming at the top of your lungs that you love a certain performing artist, for instance 'Craig David', in a classroom would not be considered acceptable, but in a different setting, like a concert, this behaviour may not be deemed even unusual. Even within societies there are sub-cultural differences in relation to, for example, different religious groups that have different norms. This makes it very hard to define. The other major limitation of the social deviance approach is that social deviancy is not necessarily a bad thing. Some people choose to live a non-conformist lifestyle. Other people's behaviour can be socially deviant for their culture or society at a certain time but may be motivated by high principles and would be considered morally correct in other social settings. For instance the people that spoke out against the atrocities that were being committed in Nazi Germany were considered "social deviants". ...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 Social Psychology 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
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work