• 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. Psychological Abnormality

    They then associate being slim with feeling good about them. Operant conditioning comes about when admiration from others urges the person to continue dieting. Also starvation may serve as a reward in the gain of attention from parents and even as effectuations in the punishment of parents.

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

    The therapist will then use a range of methods such as humour, argument, persuasion and reasoning in order to challenge the negative thoughts. The client ought then to be able to accept that the negative thoughts are irrational and unrealistic, which will give them a more positive self-worth and greater self-esteem.

  2. ''Attempts to define abnormality are always limited by cultural differences'' Outline and consider how ...

    Failure to Function Adequately is the last of the four ways of defining abnormality. This definition means a human should have some sense of personal well-being and make some contribution to a larger group. Anyone failing to function adequately in this respect is seen to be abnormal.

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

    normal distribution curve, although it is most frequently considered to be around the highest and lowest 2.5%. For each characteristic this would have to be defined, which would result in further problems defining what numerical value is a suitable point- as a large range could be argued; some psychologists might

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

    skin to do away with the masked protection clothes have to offer? Or, is it the person who is so ashamed of their natural state that they feel the need to hide behind fabric and thread? Criminals also go against the socially excepted norm however you would not say that all criminals are mentally abnormal.

  1. Defining abnormality

    In general however, people do not know hot to respond to someone diagnosed as mentally ill and a certain reservation given the potentially dangerous and unpredictable behaviour of some. Therefore this sympathy is more likely to give way to an avoidance of the person which in turn leads to the person feeling shunned from society.

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

    is socially shy or becomes anxious in social situations, alcohol can alleviate their anxieties and having an alcoholic drink becomes a coping mechanism and may conclude to an addiction that needs ever increasing amounts. (GoToSee.co.uk, 2011) The Psychodynamic Perspective and Social Care Practice According to psychodynamic theorists, both rational and irrational behaviours arise from fundamental psychological forces.

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