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Cultural Diversity And Defining Abnormality Essay

851 words - 3 pages

Cultural Diversity and Defining Abnormality

All ways of defining of abnormality are limited to a certain extent by
cultural variations. This makes it difficult for psychologists to be
sure that their definition technique would be effective and accurate
in diagnosing all cases of abnormality. The main issue for
psychologists regarding cultural diversity is that what may be
considered normal in one place may be abnormal in another and
therefore psychologist must consider this fact before making a

Although the deviation from statistical norm and deviation from ideal
mental health definitions are affected by cultural differences as I
will discuss briefly later, it is the other two definitions which are
affected on a larger scale.

The deviation from social norms approach to defining abnormality is a
relatively basic way in relation to the other definitions however the
effects of cultural difference are probably most profound in this
approach. This approach defines abnormality by the way people behave
in relation to normal practices. Therefore this method assumes that if
a person is abnormal they will behave in a way not considered normal
by other people in that society. This approach is therefore limited by
varying cultures as what is considered as normal behaviour in one area
could be considered to deviate from the norms elsewhere. This is a
rather significant problem in that in the modern multi-cultural
societies someone may consider what they are doing is totally
acceptable but those around them may. This makes it incredibly
difficult for a diagnosis to take place totally accurately under this
method. This problem was evident in the case of a number of African
men who were often diagnosed with Schizophrenia in the Western world
until it was found that their behaviour was completely acceptable in
relation to the cultural rules they were used to living by. This
definition is especially vulnerable to the limits of cultural of
differences as it relies totally on social norms to judge normality
and therefore it is most likely to be affected by cultural variations.

The second definition which is strongly affected by cultural
differences is the failure to function adequately approach. This...

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