Abnormality Essay

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Lecture 1 DEFINITIONS Lecture outline I. Introduction II. Definitions of abnormality A. Statistical deviation B. Social norm violation C. Maladaptive behavior D. Personal distress E. Deviation from an ideal F. Medical disorder III.Problems with the definitions IV. Conclusions Abnormality has gone through many dramatic changes through history: Demons, gods, and magic; bodily fluids and wandering uteruses; astral influences; physical illness; etc. (Chapter 2 of your book looks at many of these early theories). How we conceptualize the nature and cause of abnormal behavior has important implications for 1) how we conceptualize treatment, the clinician's role, and the client's role; and 2) what we see in research and treatment, and perhaps more importantly what we don't see. eg: "possession" definition logically leads to trephining. "Bodily fluids" definition logically leads to bleeding. If you see witches, you won't see social causes such as oppression. II. Definitions of Abnormality Today there are various definitions that are used by psychologists and people in general for defining abnormal behavior (Bootzin & Acocella, 1984; Carson, Butcher &

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