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Outline and Evaluate Definitions of Abnormality

  • Date Submitted: 02/06/2013 12:43 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 40.2 
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One definition of abnormality is “Deviation of social norms”. Defining
Norms are expected ways of behaving in a society according to the majority and those members of a society who do not think and behave like everyone else break these norms and so often defined as abnormal. the definition is based on the facts that often abnormal behaviour is seen as vivid and unpredictable, causes observer discomfort and violates moral or ideal standards (Rosenhan and Seligman 1989) as it differs from most people's behaviour and standards.
Secondly, abnormal thinking is delusional, irrational or incomprehensible because it differs from commonly accepted or usual beliefs. An example of this would be someone with schizophrenia, as this could manifest itself by the person talking to themselves. This would be considered abnormal according to this definition.

Though this does have its limitations such as it is culturally relative, what is seen and accepted in one culture may not be normal in another. DSN is susceptible to abuse, what may be acceptable now may not be in the future, since norms change over time. Also, deviation in context and degree, for example, wearing a swimming costume   on the beach is acceptable, but seen as abnormal in a meeting. Shouting in a public place is abnormal unless in an argument.
Also Social norms can vary over time. One example is homosexuality; homosexuality was in the American classification system for psychiatric disorders up until the 1960s. Attitudes have change a lot since then.
Social norms are specific to certain cultures, so a behaviour which is seen as deviant in one culture may be seen as a normal one in another culture or society.


Another definition is “Failure to function adequately”. This definition focuses on an individual's behaviour in everyday life. When someone cannot cope with everyday activities such as eating, sleeping or going to work or school then we might argue that they are failing to function properly. Common...

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