Individual Differences Psychopathology Abnormality by MikeJenny



You will learn about:

   Definitions of Abnormality

Theories   of Abnormality

   Treating Abnormality
        Abnormality is…
   A psychological condition
    or behaviour that departs
    from the norm or is
    harmful and distressing to
    the individual or those
    around them.

   Behaviours that violate society‟s ideas of
    what is an appropriate level of functioning.
Learning Objectives
   By the end of this lesson you will be
    able to

 Define : Deviation from the social

 Identify: Some of the indicators
    of the failure to function adequately

 Identify: Two or more limitations
 Definitions of Abnormality
 Deviation from Social Norms

 Abnormal      behaviour
 is seen as a deviation
 from implicit     rules
 about how one „ought‟
 to behave. Anything
 that violates these rules is
 considered abnormal.
 Cultural: These „rules‟ vary across
 time and across cultures. What was
 acceptable behaviour 50 years
 ago may not be
 acceptable now, and
 what it acceptable
 behaviour in one
 culture may not be
 acceptable in another.

   Behaviour that deviates
    from social norms is
   not always considered
   abnormal.

   E.g. eccentric behaviour,
    superstitious behaviour or
    dressing up for charity.
   Deviations can
    Become political
    e.g. where certain
    regimes use
    diagnosis as a means
    of controlling those
    with opposing
    political views
      Test Your Knowledge
   Answer these questions on last weeks

   Define: What is meant by social norms?
   Describe: The deviation from social
    norms definition of abnormality?
   Identify: An example of behaviour which
    deviates from social norms?
   Explain: Three limitations of this
Learning Objectives
   By the end of this lesson you will be
    able to

 Define : Failure to function

 Identify: Some of the indicators
    of the failure to function adequately
Failure to Function Adequately

   Mentally healthy people
    are judged as being able
    to operate within certain
    acceptable limits. If
    abnormal behaviour
    interfered with daily
    functioning, it may be
    considered abnormal.
   It is possible that some apparently
    dysfunctional behaviour is actually
    adaptive and functional for the individual,
    e.g. some anxiety disorders may lead to
    extra attention for the individual, and so
    are functional in reaching this goal.

    Activity: in pairs/groups think of three
    examples of evidence of people who
    are failing to function normally e.g.
    obsessive hoarding.
   Context – Behaviour that appears to be
    FFA may be normal depending on context
    e.g. political prisoners going on hunger

   Outside factors causing the behaviour
    – economic factors, prejudice and
    discrimination may prevent people from
    acting normally.

   Coping normally – Some people
    namage to function normally despite being
Learning Objectives
   By the end of this lesson you will be
    able to

 Define : Deviation from mental

 Name: 4 characteristics of
    someone with normal mental health
Deviation from Ideal Mental
   Abnormality is seen
    as deviating from an
    ideal of positive
    mental health, which
    includes a positive
    attitude towards the
    self, resistance to
    stress and an
    accurate perception
    of reality.
What is a Normal Person

   Jahoda – A normal person should be…
    In touch with their own identity and
    Resistant to Stress.
    Focussed on the future and self-
    Autonomous individuals with an
    accurate idea of reality.
    Empathy and understanding of others.
   According to these criteria,
     most of us are abnormal in
    some way. We should
    instead ask how many of
    these need to be lacking before a person
    would be judged as abnormal.
   Physical health vs Mental Health: Why are
    we looking at the idea person rather than
    looking at the problems presented.

   In Physical health we always look at the
    area that is causing pain.

   It has been argued that there are non
    physical reasons for mental health problems
    therefore we need other methods of
    diagnosing it.
   Cultural relativism: Jahoda‟s
    characteristics are too westernised

   Individual Cultures: Work towards
    individual achievements (Self

   Collective Cultures: Work towards
    the good of the group.
The Biological Model of
model of
abnormality is the
most widely
accepted model of
mental illness,
because the
dominant view in
psychiatry is that
mental problems are
       Learning Objectives
   By the end of this lesson you will be able to

   Define : The biological model of abnormality

   Identify: The four factors that may cause mental

   Identify: Two strengths and two weakness of
    the biological approach.

   Janssen: Exclusively Dedicated to Mental Health
      Four Possible Factors
 Infection: Torrey states that
  schizophrenia may be linked to mothers
  contracting a specific strain of influenza
  during pregnancy. Lies dormant until
  hormones released during puberty.

 Genetics: Research looks
  at twins. If one twin has
  schizophrenia there are high
  concordance rates that the other
  twin develops the disorder.
    Genetics determine both
    biochemisty and neuroanatomy

 Biochemistry: Either too much or
  too little neurotransmitters.
  Schizophrenia may be the result of
  increased levels of dopamine.

 Brain   damage:        It has been
 shown that people with schizophrenia
 have enlarged ventricles in the brain
 which indicate shrinkage of brain tissue.
   Brain activity/chemistry can be
    inherited e.g. depression. But
    genetics are not the only cause
    of the problem.

   Everyday experiences can also
    affect your brain chemistry. A combination
    of stress and genetics may be needed to
    trigger psychopathology
       Evaluation of the
       Biological Model
 No Blame Approach – Because the cause of
  a person‟s illness is a result of their biology
  they cannot be held responsible for their

   Wealth of Scientific Knowledge – Brain
    scanning, drug therapies and genetics tests
    have all been proved as effective diagnostic
    tools and treatments.

   Treatments can be quick, inexpensive and
           Evaluation of the
           Biological Model
   Diathesis- Stress – genetics do not offer a
    complete explanation.

   Reductionist – It assumes that complex medical
    conditions can be broken down into simple biological

   Stigma – People will be labelled as having a „mental
    illness‟ and this can affect other aspects of their lives
    when they become passive and give up responsibility
    for their illness.

   Treatments – Drugs are not effective for everyone.
   Research into Diagnosing Abnormality by Rosenham
Often Used for
And bipolar depression
Animated Minds :: The Light Bulb
The Psychodynamic model

explains abnormality as the
consequence of unresolved
conflicts of childhood which
are unconscious, and aims to
treat mental illness by making
the unconscious conscious,
through the use of psychoanalysis.
Learning Objectives
   By the end of this lesson you will be
    able to

   Define : The psychodynamic model
    of abnormality

   Identify: The three different
    components of the personality

   Identify: The four basic
   Mental disorder results from
    psychological rather than physical

   Unresolved conflicts cause mental

   Early experiences cause mental disorder

   Unconscious motivations cause mental
 Personality Structure
   The id: This is the reservoir of
unconscious and instinctual psychic
energy including libido (life instinct).
It works on the pleasure principle.

   The ego: This is our conscious self.
It regulates interactions with our
environment and works on the
reality principle.

The super-ego: this is our personal moral
  authority. It is
formed when the child internalises societies moral and
social norms.
The role of conflict
 Intra-psychic
  between the id
  ego and
  superego can
  lead to anxiety.
  To protect
  ourselves we
  use ego defence
Defence mechanisms

Activity: In your worksheet look at
each of the situations and state
whither the defence mechanism
being used is
   Repression, Displacement or Denial.

Extension activity
2. Think of behaviour that your or your
   friends might use as a defence
   mechanism for each Repression,
Stages of development
   Oral: 0-18 months. The mouth is the focus of

   Anal: 18 months – 3 yrs. Gratification
    focuses on the anus. This is the first time the child
    can exert control over their environment.

   Phallic: up to age 4 or 5. Gender differences
    are noticed. The most important feature is the
    Oedipus or Elektra complex.

   Latency from 4/5 until puberty.
    Psychosexual development is static emerging at
    puberty focussed on potential partners rather than
Evaluation of
Psychodynamic model

 Strengths

   The concept of the unconscious is widely

   He was first to suggest that adult
    abnormality is caused in childhood.

   He invented talking therapy. You can
    talk through your problems.
       Evaluation of Psychodynamic model

   He over emphasised children‟s sexuality
    and ignored other aspects of

   He based his theory on case studies of
    neurotic adults, but wrote about children‟s

   It is impossible to test scientifically
    especially the concepts of unconscious, id

   It is a product of its time – it was
Learning Objectives
Looks at uncounscious thoughts and childhood development
Animated Minds :: My Blood is My Tears
Emphasises the role of learning through operant
and classical conditioning.

 Watson & Raynor (1920)
classically conditioned an
11 month old child known
as Little Albert to fear a
white rat. The responses
then generalised to all fluffy animals.
Activity: in pairs consider the methodological issues
of this study.
       Classical Conditioning

   Involves
    natural responses
    being paired with
    an unconditioned
    stimulus (bell)
    until this stimulus
    alone produces the
Conditioning and abnormality
    Classical conditioning has been said to
     account for the development of phobias.

    Seligman proposed the
     concept of preparedness
     – the idea that in our
     evolutionary history we
     became prepared to
     develop a fear of dangerous stimuli.
Operant conditioning
 Skinner (1974)
demonstrated that
rats could be taught
voluntary responses
by reward and
punishment of behaviour.

 Different patterns of behaviour are taught
through use of different schedules of
Social Learning Theory
               This is an extension of
                skinner‟s work and
                suggests that we learn
                through observing
                another‟s behaviour
                and it‟s consequences.
                We imitate behaviour
                that we see rewarded
                – vicarious
Man's balloon phobia deflated live on radio (18 April 2007)
  A Hertfordshire company helped cure a man live on radio of his
  33-year phobia of balloons.
  Paul Reason, from Welwyn Garden City, suffered from balloon fear
  since the age of six when his mother burst one of the party pieces
  in front of his face.
  Mr Reason‟s fear was so blown up out of all proportion that on one
  occasion he fainted when hundreds of balloons were released onto
  a dance floor at a party he was attending.
  Mr Reason‟s children, Sophie and Joshua, who are now allowed to
  celebrate birthdays and Christmas with balloons.
  “The change is remarkable,” said Mr Key. “He had been on Valium
  for five years and he was crying in the car park before the show
  because he didn‟t know what we were going to do.”
    answer these three questions

1.   Can the behavioural approach explain
     this phobia?

2.    Does everyone who has a phobia have
     an incidence in their past that they can
     pin point as the cause?

3.   Can fear of balloons be related to
     evolutionary adaptiveness to help
     survival? Why
Evaluation of the Behavioural approach continued

   Treatments can be effective.

   Reductionism – It explains
    behaviour in simple forms
    ignoring cognitive and emotional

   It ignores the role of genetics.

   It is deterministic – suggesting
    that all behaviour is pre-
    programmed through learning and
    there is no choice in how we act.

   Used for
   Animated Minds :: Fish on a Hook

   Ellis and Beck
                                 Unhappy or traumatic
Assumptions                       experiences in childhood
                                  create negative
   All behaviour is              schemata.
   influenced by schemata;
   facts or beliefs held about
    situations, but mostly about
                     ourselves e.g.
                     “I am a nice

                                 Negative schemata lead
                                  to negative automatic
                                  thoughts which are
                                  misplaced or false beliefs
                                  about ourselves.
Beck’s model of depression
    Negative view about self, world and future

            A negative cognitive Triad.
         Attributional style
   Behaviour is seen as         Behaviour is seen as
    internal or external in       specific or global „It‟s
    cause                         only happening here and
       „ It‟s my fault‟.         now‟
        It‟s your fault

                                 Behaviour is stable or
                                  unstable „I must always
                                  act this way, it is
              Ellis’ ABC
   Activating events: Seeing a large dog
   Beliefs about those events: Dogs bite
   Consequences: feelings and actions: Panic
     Individual is in control
   Free will: In contrast to the other
    models where something outside the
    individual is responsible for the

   Cognitive psychologist believe it is the
    individual control over their own
    negative thinking.

   People must change the way they think
    Evaluation of the cognitive model

   There is clear research evidence for
    cognitive bias and dysfunctional thinking.

   Cognitive therapy is very effective.

   It ignores biological and genetic factors.

   The problem e.g. depression may cause the
    faulty thinking rather than the other way
   Sometimes
    negative thoughts
    are an accurate
    view of the world.
    This is called
    depressive realism.

  Can be used for
  Obsessive compulsive disorder
  Animated Minds :: Over and Over
  (and Over) Again

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