Defining Abnormality. How would you define normal and abnormal?. Map to Spec – Page 58. 1. Definition of the application b) Define and use psychological terminology accurately and appropriately including : i. statistical definition of abnormality
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1. Definition of the application
b)Defineand use psychological terminology accurately and appropriately including:
i. statistical definition of abnormality
ii. social norm definition of abnormality
By definition abnormality means differing from the norm or average.
Statistically infrequent behaviour is regarded as abnormal, whereas frequent behaviour is normal.
Individual characteristics can be measured (e.g., mood, intelligence, etc…) and the distribution of these characteristics within the population can be graphed. The normal distribution curve shows the majority of people as being in the middle. These people are defined as ‘normal’. Relatively few people fall at either end. However, if they are then they are defined as ‘abnormal’.
For example, most “normal” people eat an
average of between 1500 to 3000 calories a day.
However, anorexics consume very few calories,
and bulimics consume lots
– which makes their behaviour “abnormal”
The spread is measured by standard deviation68% of the population fall between 1 SD either side of the mean and 95% fall between 2 SD. Thus, scores outside this range are unusual, therefore 2.5% fall below it and 2.5% above it.
The IQ intelligence quotient is often given as an example of the working of this definition.
IQ is normally distributed across the population and anyone outside the normal limits is said to have an abnormal IQ.
IQ has a standard deviation of 15 and a mean of 100. One standard deviation either side would be from 85 to 115, two standard deviations either side is from 70-130, this is where normal ends.
An IQ score of 130 and above is abnormally high IQ score, and the same for an IQ score of 70 and below
For example: -
DASS (depression, anxiety, and stress scale) uses a questionnaire to measure depression, anxiety and stress, a very high score would be considered abnormal and in need for treatment, the DASS score would be expected to fall in the middle to be considered normal.
Knowing that the data is normally distributed means that anyone a long way away outside the average could be regards as abnormal.
Have a go at describing the statistical infrequency definition in your own words
Lets have a discussion!
Is this definition of abnormality suitable in terms of diagnosis?
People who are extremes either end – are they abnormal?
What might the limitations of this definition be?
There are statistically frequent behaviours which are considered as abnormal
Queuing for one hour in the Post Office
Hearing voices in our head
Having big holes in your earlobes
Being covered head to toe in tattoos
Wearing appropriate clothes when its cold.
Stealing from the local shop
Being part of a gay community
Saying please and thank you
Not standing too close to someone when you speak
Being a member of a church group that meets daily
Wearing a diving suit when walking down the road
Counting the number of times you chew your food
Can you think of any others?
Opening doors for people
Not hearing voices
Not washing your hands 50 times a day
Queuing in shops
Not standing too close to people when talking
Wearing clothes when walking around outside
These are just a few examples which give an indication of normal/abnormal behaviour
Have a go at describing the social norms definition of abnormality in your own words…
Using the cards, decide which of the points are related to which definition of abnormality
Then decide on which are strengths and which are weaknesses of each definition
Copy the points into the table provided
Have a go at structuring an answer for a 12 mark exam question on the two definitions of abnormality