Different Perspectives on Abnormal Behavior
In psychology, abnormal behavior covers a broad spectrum of definitions.
What makes this
spectrum so broad is the many subjective perspectives that can be taken to view this type of behavior.
These viewpoints include conceptual definitions, integrated definitions, practical definitions, and
statistical definitions, to name a few.
The stigma associated with abnormal behavior often comes with
a negative connotation, but looked into further, not all abnormal behavior negatively affects an
individual or others around him, nor do all of the behaviors warrant professional attention.
almost all abnormal behavior contains advantages and disadvantages, in addition to being adaptive or
maladaptive, for a person, depending on the circumstances.
In the United States of America,
vegetarians, athletes, manic depressants, and full body tattoo enthusiasts fall under the numerous
definitions for abnormal behavior.
Vegetarians, or people who choose not to eat meat, perform deviant eating habits compared
to the majority of society.
A survey conducted in April of 2006 by The Vegetarian Resource Group
found that only 2.3% (with a sampling error of plus or minus 3%) of the adult population in the United
States didn’t eat meat (Stahler 1).
Based on the conceptual definition, abnormal behavior can be
defined as “ . . . deviations from what is considered normal or most prevalent in a socio-cultural
context” (Sue, Sue, and Sue 8).
Thus, through this conceptual definition, the eating habits of
vegetarians can be considered abnormal behavior.
While their actions may occur less frequently than
those who do eat meat, the individuals who choose to only eat vegetables would not warrant
Many studies concerning a healthy diet favor vegetarianism over the diet of a
non vegetarian, showing a lower risk of “obesity, . . . heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke,
diabetes, and some forms of cancer” (Higgins 2).
With these favorable statistics, vegetarians would
have an advantage in physical health because of their abnormal behavior.
On the other hand,
considering their restricted diet, their behavior could lead to a disadvantage in physical health,
especially in some third world countries where people become desperate for any source of nourishment