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Considering Abnormality

Considering Abnormality - Jason Wang Different Perspectives...

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Jason Wang 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. In fact, 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 professional attention. 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 1
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Jason Wang for their bodies. Cutting the variety of food they can eat in half would definitely put vegetarians in a disadvantage for survival. However, in a country with abundant resources, such as the United States, vegetarianism is adaptive for many individuals in that it can lead to a healthier lifestyle. At the same time, for a high school football player trying to build muscle, this behavior would actually be
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