Abnormality

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					Abnormality
Definitions
   A. Statistical Deviation
       Uncommon
       Away from average
       Implies bell-shaped curve of behavior
        across a population
       Review percentages:
       Problem: Would make being above the
        mean just as problematic as being below
        the mean; doesn’t match our idea of
        abnormality
B. Social norm violation
   Goes against social expectations
   Proper dress
   Behavior matches situation
   Implies norms are absolute
   Problem: what about reformers? Plus,
    this would make disorders tough to
    categorize since it would make
    normality culturally relative (abnormal
    here, not abnormal there)
C. Maladaptive
   Long periods of discomfort
   Impaired functioning that doesn’t pay off
   Bizarre behavior
   Disruptive behavior
   Problem: If the situation is abnormal,
    wouldn’t the person who refuses to adapt be
    healthier than the person who adapts?
D. Personal distress
   Depressed
   Anxious
   Discontented
   Problem: Some disordered people feel no
    distress
   E.g. schizophrenic who is comforted by the
    voice talking in his head;
   E.g. Ted Bundy was not bothered by his
    killing of people, nor was Manson. Were they
    sick?
E. Deviation from an ideal
   Humanists and existentialists lean this
    way
   Falling short of personal ideal
   Even if functioning all right, may be not
    ideal
   Aren’t we all below our ideal?
   Problem: Whose ideal? Yours? Mine?
    Culture? God? Species?
F. Medical disorder
   Biogenic definition
   E.g. , Alzheimer’s disease
   Major brain atrophy
   Problem: WHO says that health is more
    than just the absence of a disease;
    more holistic, body, mind, spirit, social
    well-being, etc.
G. Dysfunctional
   Unable to perform typical tasks
   Success in school
   Hold down a job
   Retain quality relationships
   Take care of self (hygiene, feeding)
   Problem: we would need to be fairly
    impaired to reach this limit, plus you
    would have to have thresholds for each.
No one definition works for all
situations, but definitions are a
must if we are going to have a
scientific field of abnormal
psychology
Diagnosis
   Interviews
   Behavioral observations
   Psychometric testing
   Use of DSM IV
       Axis   1   –   Clinical Disorders
       Axis   2   –   Personality disorders and MR
       Axis   3   –   Medical comorbidity
       Axis   4   –   psychosocial/environmental
       Axis   5   –   Global Assessment of Functioning

				
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