Abnormal Psychology

Published by admin on

5 definitions of abnormal behavior
1) violation of norms
2) statistical infrequency
3) personal distress
4) disability or dysfunction
5) deviation from ideal
rules that tell us what is right and wrong to do
violation of norms (as a definition of abnormal behavior)
rules that tell us what is right and wrong to do

Positives: in touch w/ reality, person cares about behavior, you’re trying to conform to the standards around you

Negatives: norms emerge from a particular culture, norms vary across time & cultures; encourage conformity

statistical infrequency (as a definition of abnormal behavior)
abnormality is any substantial deviation from a statistically calculated average

positives: it’s very easy to use, it’s objective

negatives: this definition has no values; it lacks any system from differentiation btwn desirable behaviors & undesirable behaviors

personal distress (as a definition of abnormal behavior)
defined by individual who is experience symptoms that cause unhappiness

Positive: non-judgmental definition

Negatives: there is no stable criterion for whether the behavior is normal or not; same behavior pattern may cause diff degrees of unhappiness in diff ppl

disability or dysfunction (as a definition of abnormal behavior)
definition concentrates on the practical matter of getting thru life w/ some sucess; very practical definition (can a person meet the demands of his own life, given his behavior pattern? can you be successful in school, pay bills, have relationships, etc. given your behavior pattern?)

Positives: practical, flexible definition

Negatives: lacks values

Deviation from ideal (as a definition of abnormal behavior)
any deviation from ideally well-adjusted personality is abnormal

positive: always gives us something to strive for

negatives: it’s difficult to achieve an ideal, striving to achieve an ideal may make us feel inadequate; whose ideal is best?

DSM-5 Definition of Abnormal Behavior
-mental disorder is defined as a syndrome that is present in an individual and that involves sig. disturbance in behavior, emotion regulation, or cognitive functioning
-these disturbances reflect a dysfunction in biological, psychological, or developmental processes
-disorders are assoc w/ sig distress or disability in key areas of functioning
-predictable or culturally approved responses to stressors are excluded (ex: being dep after husband dies)
-disorder is not a result of conflict w/ society
Frequency of serious mental disturbances in adults and kids
30% of adults

20% of kids

how do we count psychological problems?
mental health epidemiology–> the study of the distribution of mental disorders
refers to the number of active cases in a population during a given period of time
1 year prevalence
the estimated instances in a population in a 1 year period
lifetime prevalence
the % of ppl at some point in their life that are going to suffer from a psychological problem
National comorbidity survey
-good example of epidemiological study
-they found the prevalence of disorders in adults
-lifetime prevalence of having a disorder was 46%, 1 year prevalence was 26%, the most common category of disorders was anxiety & mood disorder 2nd most common
-abnormal function is a pervasive problem when we have close to half having a lifetime issue!
-theory that deviant behavior is the result of supernatural forces
-everything they didn’t understand they blamed on supernatural things
-many diff cultures refer to being possessed; lots of diff references
-the cure for demonic possession is an exorcism–> force the demon out of body, consists of prayer, noise making, etc.
-father of modern medicine
-he believed that all illness, including mental illness, was due to a biological cause
-he focused on the mentally ill person’s brain
-one of 1st pl to subscribe to somatogenic hypothesis
-3 important achievments
somatogenic hypothesis
something wrong w/ the soma (body) disturbs thought & behavior
Hippocrates’ 3 important achievments
1) he observed and recorded observations of mental disturbance (developing early case studies)

2) he developed biological theory of abnormal behavior

3) he developed a classification system w/ 3 categories (mania, melancholia, phrenitis)

Hippocrates’ biological theory of abnormal behavior
-cause of hysteria in women= wandering uterus
-cause of mental disorders= imbalance of humors (vital fluids)
*excess phlegm causes you to be sluggish & indifferent
*excess blood leads to rapid shifts in mood
*excess black bile causes ppl to be depressed
*excess yellow bile causes ppl to be irritable & anxious
Hippocrates classification system had 3 categories
1) Mania
2) Melancholia (depression/sadness)
3) Phrenitis (meaning brain fever…he was referring to schizophrenia)
Middle Ages
-Christian church powerful–> demonology returned as a cause of mental illness
-several outbreaks of mass madness (tarantism, lycanthropy, koro)
-Hippocrates’ thinking remained influentl in Islamic countries (not in Europe w/ demonology)
-1st mental hospital established in Baghdad where ppl received humane trtmt
-contributions of Avicenna
a mania that occurred throughout Europe; grps of ppl would suddenly start to dance or jump around or go into convulsions; they were convinced they’d been bitten by a taranula; to cure they would all engage in a folk dance called a terentella; all originiated in Italian city Teranto
ppl w/ it thought they were possessed by wolves or other sim. animals
in Nigeria many men feared their genitals had vanished; it’s a fear of genital retraction & death
-these men believed it was caused by a supernatural occurrence in order to benefit oter ppl in a magical way
-this panic occurred during a ime when women were starting to achieve success
Contributions of Avicenna in the Middle Ages
he believed that certain physical illness was caused by emotional distress; he believed music could cure & calm ppl
Witch Hunts
-Swept thru Europe & part of Am. colonies
-80% of witches were women accused
-witch hunts endorsed by catholic church
-100,000 to several hundred thousand ppl affected
-appeared in Europe to isolate mental patients from society
-most famous one was St. Mary of Bethlehem “Bedlam”
-Conditions were terrible
Moral Therapy
-Developed by Phillippe Pinel
-based on the assumption that if you treat the mentally ill badly it leads to a poor recovery
-if you treat them w/ kindness & humanely they would get better & be able to leave the asylum
-Pinel spent time talking to patients, listening to them, & giving advice
Benjamin Rush’s treatments
-An American who we call the father of American psychiatry
-believed mental illness was caused by too much blood–>if you could draw large quantities of blood out of patient you could treat them
attributing mental disorders to biological causes (Hippocrates is main contributor)
-resurgence of this hypoth. due to work of Emil Kraepelin & biological & anatomical discoveries
attributing mental disorders to psychic malfunctions and emotional states
psychodynamic theory
-developed by Freud
-his theory emph. “intrapsychic dynamics” which motivate & drive behavior; importance of uncon.
-Freud believed most of our behavior is due to forces we aren’t even aware of; our behavior is determined by our uncon mind
conceptual framework or approach w/in which the scientist works
1) specifies the kinds of concepts to be studied
2) specifies the methods that will be used
3) they help organize facts, can infl treatment
Categories: Abnormal Psychology