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Psychological Abnormality

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Psychological Abnormality There have been many attempts to define psychological abnormality. One of these is the Failure to Function Adequately that defines abnormality in the sense that every human being should be able to achieve some sense of personal well-being and make some contribution to a larger social group. Any individual who fails to function adequately in this respect is seen as 'abnormal'. According to Sue et al (1994), there are two ways by which people fail to function adequately being the practical and clinical criteria. Buss (1966) and Miller & Morley (1986) suggests that a failure to function adequately occurs when personal distress or discomfit which takes the form of intense anxiety and depression, loss of appetite etc. But we cannot use personal distress criteria to define abnormality since it is normal or an appropriate response in particular circumstances. For example, depression as a response to the death of a loved one, it is only when it persists after a long period of time or the source has been removed or most persons have adjusted to it/them, that it becomes abnormal. Also some forms of mental disorders are not necessarily accompanied by personal distress. Example; dissocial personality disorder which involves repeated acts of violence and crime without experiencing guilt or remorse and substance related disorders like excessive use of alcohol may be vigorously denied by the user. ...read more.


This is according to the statistical values in relation to gender issues. (Bennett 1995) One research study into the causes of anorexia nervosa suggests that it may be genetic. According to Strober & Katz (1987), there is a trend in which the disorder runs in families, with first- and second-degree relatives of anorectic individuals being significantly more likely to develop the disorder compared to first- and second-degree relatives of a control group of non-anorectics. Twin studies have also been used to find out the role that genetic factors play. Askevold & Heiberg (1979) reported a 50% concordance rate for monozygotics (MZ) brought up in the same environment. Holland et al (1984) also found a 55% concordance rate for MZ twins and 7% for dizygotic (DZ) twins. But Treasure & Holland (1991) suggest that if genes play a role, then it is likely to be very small. Wade et al (1998), who studied both genetic and Agovi environmental risk factors in 325 female twins, found out that environmental factors greatly influence shaping women's attitudes towards weight, shape, eating and food but little evidence of a genetic component. This does not support a genetic cause of anorexia as behaviour may be learned from other family members as they also share the same environmental factors. ...read more.


However, not all ballet dancers, gymnasts, models and so on that diet to become slim develop eating disorders according to Copper (1995). Another mind-boggling observation that is exceedingly difficult to explain is the occurrence of anorexia in blind people. Since a 'distorted body image' is one of the characteristics of anorexia. Yager et al (1986) describes a case of a 28-year-old woman who has been blind from the age of two and became anorexic at age 21. Touyz et al (1988) also reported a similar case in a Agovi woman blinded at birth. Although either teams could not offer a satisfactory explanation, they all agreed that blindness from early childhood or birth does not exclude anorexia's development and people do not have to perceive themselves before they desire a slimmer physique. Reference Askevold & Heiberg 1979 Bemus 1978 Bruch 1979 Bennett 1995 Buss 1966 Cooper 1995 Crisp 1967 Davison & Neale 1994 Garner et al 1987 Garfinkel & Garner 1982 Gross 1995 Hassett & White 1989 Holland et al 1991 Houston et al 1991 Jimerson et al 1992 Kaplan & Woodside 1987 Kaye et al 1993 Miller & Neale 1994 Petkova 1997 Polivy & Herman 1985 Strober & Katz 1987 Sue et al 1994 Treasure & Holland 1991 Touyz et al 1988 Wade et al 1997 Yager et al 1986 Active psychology Psychology, A New Introduction Psychology for A-Levels ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 of 12 ...read more.

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