Defining Abnormality Presentation

 Many challenges faced when defining
 Normal behavior
 Abnormal behavior
 Multitudes of classifications one must consider when defining abnormality
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Situational context
Historical relativism
Evolving theory of knowledge
Gender and sexual preferences/practices
 How one defines normal and abnormal behavior
 Influenced through the situational context
 Circumstances surrounding specific behavior
 Define behavior
 Demographic contexts
 Race, culture, gender, or religion
 Continuum between normal and abnormal behavior
•Varies across cultural and historical contexts
•Example: some cultures talk to the dead
•Different perceptions account for the “culture
•Learning affects a person’s behavior
•Experience of behavior is culturally relative
• Religion
•Influences one’s behavior through
cognition and perception
•Promotion of behavior is
•Variations in portrayal of behavior
•Various ethnicities are more prone
to psychological and sociocultural
factors that influence behavior
 Biological explanations
 Early beliefs, religious/spiritual
 Exorcism
 Trephination
 Released or removed evil spirits that caused abnormal behavior
 Transition from spiritual influences to scientific
 Evolution of classification systems
 Socio-cultural influences
 Family dynamic
 Religion
 Economic Status
 Allows one to hold specific beliefs concerning normalcy
and the world
 Discrimination
 Research
 Double blind study
 All related factors are equal
 Reductionism
 Law of parsimony
 Paradigm Shifts
 Evolutionary changes in thinking
 Gender is a striking demographic when defining abnormality
 Disproportionate in women
 Genetic and hormonal difference between men and women
 Causes abnormal behaviors through physical and emotional
 Sexual preferences or practices
 Homosexuality used to be considered a mental disorder
 Sexual preference or practices are a variation of normal sexual
 Psychological and biological paradigm
 Interconnected
 Interdependent
 Some disorders have a primary origin that is
psychological or biological
 Most involve both factors
 Three different principles used to discern the
mind/body connection
• Behavior is reflective of
one’s age
• Behaviors and impulses
vary as one matures
•Symptoms and behaviors
are age dependent
•Example: depression
 Vocation in terms of abnormality
 Social justice and cultural relativism must be
 Some work simply to survive
 Partake in practices that are abnormal
 Not within one’s own vocational aspirations
 Focus upon external measurers of work-related
 Adjust social contexts and internal measures of
 Detriments of labeling
 Can either be beneficial to understanding of behavioral issue
 Or can act as a roadblock
 Creation of a stigma
 Iatrogenic disorders
 Misdiagnosis
 Cultural changes
 Immigration
 Mixture of cultures
•Defining abnormal behavior requires a multitude of
•Cultural perspectives to religious and political
•Normal and abnormal definitions
•Based upon a wide range of behaviors
•Analysis of behavior dependent upon different
demographic concepts
•Race, culture, gender, religion
•Explains the continuum between normal and
abnormal behavior
Guichard, J., Metz, A.J. (2009). Vocational
psychology and new challenges. Retrieved
Hansell, J. & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal
psychology. 2nd Edition. Hoboken, NJ:
Schumaker, J. (1992). Religion and Mental
Health. Oxford University Press.