Definitions of Abnormality - Coggle Diagram
Definitions of Abnormality
Statistically outside the range of normal on a bell curve distribution.
E.g. abnormal IQ score would be <70 or >130
Some abnormal behaviours are desirable such as having a high IQ over 150. Equally, some 'normal;' behaviour is undesirable such as depression.
Cultural relativism - behaviour that is statistically infrequent in one culture may not be in another culture. Hearing voices is often linked to Sz but in some cultures this is very common.
Cut off is subjective - one symptom of depression is poor sleep but for some 6 hours could be the cut off but others believe less than 5 hours should be the cut off.
Deviation from Social Norms
Individual behaves differently to how society expects people to act
Considerations of context, culture and time mean it would not be scientific or appropriate to use DSN to define abnormality especially if treatment is to be provided. It would be better suited to show indication of something needing attention in conjunction with other definitions.
Strength - takes into account the effect it has on other people, transgression of social rules which are ideally designed to help people live together better, abnormal behaviour could damage others.
Susceptible to abuse - homosexuality is now acceptable in most countries were it used to be classed as a sexual and gender identity disorder in DSM. Thomas Szasz 1974 - concept of mental illness was a way to exclude nonconformists from society.
Cultural relativism - classifications such as DSM are from the dominant West culture but same criteria applies to non-western cultures. Now acknowledged in DSM-V e.g. panic attacks could mean uncontrollable crying in some cultures but difficulty breathing in others.
Deviation from Ideal Mental Health
Jahoda 1958 - six criteria for ideal mental health
Self Attitude - positive self-esteem, strong sense of identity.
Self Actualisation - extent to which full potential is reached.
Integration - ability to cope with stress.
Autonomy - being independent
Perception of reality
Mastery of environment - particularly in relationships, work and school.
When one or more of these criteria are lacking, the individual is considered abnormal in this definition.
Unrealistic criteria - everyone will experience of stress or self-doubt, but through this definition that would make everyone abnormal, the criteria are difficult to measure so may not be as useful in determining abnormal
Cultural relativism - self actualisation is relevant to individualist cultures but not collectivist cultures, if applied to collectivist cultures or non-middle classes there will be a higher incidence of abnormality. limits usefulness.
Positive approach - focuses on lacking positives rather than the showing negatives. However, it equates physical and mental health, some mental disorders have physical causes like brain damage but most do not. So unlikely we could diagnose mental abnormality in the same way as physical abnormality.
Failure to Function Adequately
Rosenhan and Seligman 1989 -
Proposed signs to be used to determine if someone is not coping.
Individual no longer conforms to standard interpersonal rules such as respecting personal space.
Person experiences severe personal distress.
Behaviour becomes irrational or dangerous to themselves or others.
E.g. Yorkshire Ripper - behaved violently under delusions of defending others and himself from evil.
Cultural relativism - different cultural ideas about how to live, standard of West is used to judge others, lower-class non-white have higher diagnosis rate of mental disorders.
Subjective - view mental disorder from perspective of patient, easy to judge objectively because behaviours can be listed and compared against.
Who judges? - one individual may be distressed at their failures whereas another might be content with the situation or unaware they are struggling e.g Sz can be dangerous.