Difficulties In Defining Psychology Psychology Essay

1572 words - 7 pages

Difficulties in defining psychological abnormality
Psychological abnormality can be explained by four factors, this includes: Deviation from Social Norms; Failure to Function Adequately (FFA); Deviation from Ideal Mental Health and Statistical Infrequency.
Deviation from Social Norms
Deviation from social norms is a form of abnormality. It is explained that if an individual’s behaviour is different from the norms that are accepted within society, it is classed as abnormal behaviour. Abnormal behaviour is unpredictable and can cause others discomfort. Abnormal thinking is expressed as irrational or delusional due to the individual acting different from the social norms within society. Researchers such as Szasz (1960) have criticized that “‘abnormality’, especially relating to certain mental disorders, is a socially constructed concept that allows people who show different, unusual or disturbing (to the rest of society) behaviour to be labelled and thus treated differently from others- often confined, controlled and persecuted”.
Failure to Function Adequately (FFA)
Failure to Function Adequately also known as FFA is a term used when an individual’s mood, thinking process or abnormal behaviour affects their health and wellbeing. They can be from minimal risk to elevated risk from an individual not being able to seek employment or having money issues to an individual being an extreme danger to others or themselves. FFA may not be recognised for those who are in a psychotic state, such as: schizophrenia. According to Thomas J. Scheff (1966), people may criticise a schizophrenic for failing to function adequately because “they’re breaking residual rules, the ‘unnameable’ expectations we have regarding such things as ‘decency’ and ‘reality’”. However, complications in FFA could have an outcome of “social rejection and ‘adequate functioning' is, to some extent, a social judgment", instead of it indicating psychological abnormalities in individuals.
Deviation from Ideal Mental Health
Deviation from Ideal Mental Health is the idea that a single characteristic possessed or lacked by an individual can be used as a basis to define the presence of a psychological abnormality. This has been rejected by some, Jahoda (1958) described several characteristics of normality, but people may question how many of these characteristics an individual must lack or possess to be considered normal or abnormal. Also "Jahoda's characteristics of mental health have been regarded as too idealistic" there are many views and criticisms on these definitions as people like Maslow would argue that very few people reach self-actualisation, and not everyone agrees that these characteristics are ideal for mental health.
Statistical infrequency
Statistical infrequency is defined as any behaviour which is statistically rare and therefore it is very uncommon to be seen within society. For example, “… autism is sufficiently statistically rare (it occurs in 2-4 children per...

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