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Summary table of definitions of psychological abnormality.

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Introduction

Summary table of definitions of psychological abnormality Definition of abnormality Outline of definition Limitations of this definition Statistical infrequency Definition: According to this definition, any behaviour, which lies outside the statistical average, is abnormal. So behaviour, which occurs frequently, is defined as normal, and behaviour, which occurs frequently, is defined as abnormal. For example: A non-psychological example would be shoe size. Shoe manufacturers need an idea of what the range of shoe size is in order to determine how many of each size to make. If data is collected from a very large group of people, one can draw a NORMAL DISTRIBUTION CURVE. For example, if one collected data on the eating patterns of the GB population using calories consumption per day, the majority of people's eating behaviour would fall with in a normal range. People with anorexia or with compulsive eating problems would fall outside this range, and therefore be defined as "abnormal". The same could be done for depression, phobias etc. 1. Problem of desirability - According to this definition, behaviour that lies at both ends of the normal distribution curve is considered abnormal. ...read more.

Middle

Any behaviour, which breaks these norms or rules, is seen as abnormal. For example: someone that wraps their television and other electrical item in bubblewrap to stop things getting through. this is not normal for society so this is seen as abnormal . For example young unmarried pregnant women in the past looked up in mental hospitals so there behaviour would be such as unacceptable and abnormal 1. Problem of social context - A major limitation of this definition is that social norms depend on context. For example, what is seen as normal will vary. (eg from culture to another) So what is seen as abnormal in one context may not be in another. Therefore this definition is limited because it cannot be used universally. In other words one cannot generalise about behaviour which deviates from the norm. 2. Problem of social control - Another limitation of this definition is that it sometimes means that people who do not "fit in" society, and who's behaviour is thus seen as abnormal, are rejected by the society, and become outsiders. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mental health and illness are not lie physical health. You either have chicken pox or you do not. Everyone's definition of mental health will be different. 2.Problem of cultural relativism - Another limitation of this definition of abnormal behaviour is that it is culturally specific. This means that Jahodas 6 criteria are based on a western view, where we are told to emphasise "me" while in some African countries "We" is emphasised. This means that you may class someone as abnormal although the behaviour is normal for the culture they are from. Cultural relativism � refers to the fact that individual cultures tend to define normal and abnormal behaviour in different ways. This makes it difficult to make universal or general statements about Support for idea of cultural relativism: 1. Deviation from social norms definition is culturally relative because.... eg..... eg...... 2. Deviation from ideal mental health is also culturally relative because........ eg..... Problems with the idea of cultural relativism: 1. Ethical concerns..... eg..... 2. Problem of collecting accurate statistics on abnormal behaviour..... eg.... In contrast, perhaps some aspects of abnormal behaviour are universal....... eg....... ...read more.

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