Abnormal Psychology

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The field of abnormal psychology engages with the obscure line between normal and abnormal behaviour. This blur is as a result of the dissonance that occurs when the two terms are defined for example, when cultural perspectives are taken into consideration-where behaviour (for example sake, experiencing hallucinations) considered deviant in one population is normalcy in another. In attempt to make the field comprehensive a middle ground was determined by drawing on the common elements or patterns of “peculiar” conditions, and converging them to ascertain this definition of abnormality: behavioural, psychological, or biological dysfunctions that are atypical and unexpected in their cultural context and associated with personal distress and…show more content…
Taking this into account, a more accurate way of understanding deviance is the extent to which cultural norms or ideological perspectives are breached (Examine the concepts of normality and abnormality, 2011). However, even within a particular cultural context, equating deviance with abnormality is problematic. It is problematic because such a criterion fails to distinguish between positive and negative behaviours that deviate from the norm. For instance, deviations from the norm may be due to characteristics like eccentricity, genius or some form of outstanding achievement. These could be hardly viewed as abnormal or pathological (Barlow & Durand, 2012). In brief, all three features need to be present for an individual’s behaviour to be termed as “abnormal”. Regina’s behaviour is spread across all three criteria, therefore, her behaviour is abnormal; in terms of dysfunction, her disruptive behavioural patterns fit this criterion because they stand in the way of her personal growth and actualisation. For personal distress, anxiety and depression are prominent symptoms, and she seems to struggle with unbearable negative thoughts about herself and the world around her. Finally, her public nudity, sexual escapades and writing of incoherent thoughts on all the surfaces of her dormitory room are culturally atypical behaviours. This process of only determining the normality and abnormality of behaviours is inefficient as it does not account for the actual behaviours or
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