Georgina Suzanne Ene
Examine and discuss the Concepts of Normality and Abnormality
Abnormality can be defined in various ways. These can be behaviours which cause distress, loss of freedom, physical or emotional pain etc. Abnormal behaviour is however difficult to identify because it is, to a large extent, based on the symptoms people show. Definitions of normality and abnormality can also change over time.
Different definitions of abnormality include:
Deviation from social norms
One way to define abnormality is to consider when behaviour disrupts social norms or makes others nervous. However with this definition, your beliefs will affect how people view social norms, what is seen as normal in ones eyes may be seen as abnormal in another.
Failure to function adequately
Rosenhan and Seligman (1984): six conditions that could be used to decide whether a person’s behaviour is abnormal. These were observer discomfort, unpredictability, suffering, irrationality, vividness, unconventionality and violation of moral or ideal standards. Maladaptive behaviour’s may be thought of as those that cause difficulties or are counterproductive for the individual or for others. If an individual’s abnormal behaviour, mood, or thinking adversely affects their well-being, then help is needed. On a more extreme level, if an individual’s abnormal behaviour becomes a danger to their own safety, then they may be defined as abnormal and institutionalised.
Deviation from ideal mental health
Regarding the definition of abnormality the humanistic psychologist Marie Jahoda took a different approach in that instead of defining what is abnormal, she tried to define what is normal. Jahoda, based on literature review, she identified six components of ideal mental health, and deviation from these would mean that the individual is abnormal. These are positive attitude towards self, growth development and self-actualisation, integration and ability to resist stress, personal autonomy,...