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

Summary table of definitions of psychological abnormality.

Extracts from this document...

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.

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 The Psychology of Individual Differences 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

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level The Psychology of Individual Differences essays

  1. "Outline and evaluate two definitions of abnormality: statistical infrequency and deviation from social norms."

    Going against society is not always criticised as being abnormal, however. The freedom fighters who opposed apartheid in South Africa for example, were not abnormal, they were just people who supported racial equality. Therefore, it is possibly just as important to consider why someone may be socially deviant because although

  2. Outline and Evaluate the Biological, Psychodynamic and Cognitive Explanations of Abnormality

    This model was developed by Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck, because they believed the behavioural approach to be too simple as it did not take into the account the mental processes involved in a psychological illness. The main assumption of this model is that emotional problems can be directly caused by distortions in a person's thinking processes.

  1. Psychological Abnormality

    fear of) the possibility of weight gain. Crisp (1967) suggested that anorexia might be more appropriately known as 'weight phobia' and this is assumed to be the outcome of the role of social norms. Classical conditioning includes the layperson's view that suggests anorexia as 'slimming that got out of hand'

  2. Describe and evaluate the concepts of abnormal behaviour When we talk about abnormal behaviour ...

    a bit like saying that not being tall means you are short. There is no middle ground. In a society as broad and diverse as the one we live in to day having a middle ground in diagnosing any kind of medical illness is paramount.

  1. Cultural Relativism

    We look at a so-called average of what is normal and people that differ greatly from this norm are said to be statistically infrequent. However, it is very relevant to the culture in which you are brought up. For example, with intelligence, the average IQ in this country is 100

  2. Free essay

    Discuss the range of methods available to the psychologist.

    The other source of bias is Interviewer effects. Here the interviewer may only ask questions they are interested in or they could ask leading questions. The way the interviewer presents themselves, i.e. how they are dressed, appearance, gender or tone of voice may influence how the participants answer the questions asked.

  1. Consider the Problems Faced by Psychologists in the Definition of Abnormality

    are seen as normal. This makes the determination of abnormality black and white- a person is either normal or abnormal, there is no graduation between the two. In some disorders, often thought of as psychologically abnormal, such as depression, there are different degrees of severity, so although a person may

  2. The contents of this essay will explain different psychological approaches to health and social ...

    In this period, the psychodynamic theorist encourages the individual to speak about their childhood experiences and the type of relationship the individual shared with his relatives and acquaintances; which may be an unpleasant experience if the past has played a significant role in damaging the individual?s psychological equilibrium.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work