5 - diagnosis and classification of psychological problems

5 - diagnosis and classification of psychological problems...

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What is Abnormal Behavior? 21:49 Maladjustment: “Insane” individuals are sick and require humane treatment Psychopathologist: A scientist who studies the causes of mental disorders as well  as the factors that influence the development of mental disorders Some of the reasons that abnormal behavior is so difficult to define are no single  descriptive feature is shared by all forms of abnormal behavior, and no one  criterion for “abnormality” is sufficient; and no discrete boundary exists between  normal and abnormal behavior Bizarre behavior, dangerous behavior, or shameful behavior Conformity to norms, the experience of subjective distress, and disability or  dysfunction Conformity to Norms: Statistical Infrequency or Violation of Social Norms When a person’s behavior becomes patently deviant, outrageous, or  otherwise nonconforming, then he or she is more likely to be categorized as  “abnormal” The Case of Dmitri A. o An only child, a pair of doting parents, a short attention span, and  aggressiveness were all factors that combined to produce his poor school  performance o Mental retardation – his IQ was 64 on the Stanford-Binet and was  estimated to be 61 based on the Draw-a-Person Test The Case of Martha L. o Schizophrenia, paranoid type; schizoid personality; and schizophrenia,  undifferentiated type Advantages of This Definition o Cutoff Points Cutoff point on a scale is 80 and an individual scores 75, the decision  to label that individual’s behavior as abnormal is relatively  straightforward Psychological test scores Test authors designate a cutoff point in the test manual, often  based on statistical deviance from the mean score obtained by a  “normal” sample of test-takers, and scores at or beyond the cutoff  are considered “clinically significant” o Intuitive Appeal
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We believe that we know it when we see it Problems with This Definition o Conformity criteria  Choice of Cutoff Points Very few guidelines are available for choosing the cutoff point Rationally justifying such arbitrary IQ cutoff points is difficult The Number of Deviations Nonconformity standards is the number of behaviors that one must  evidence to earn the label “deviant” Cultural Relativity In short, what is deviant for one group is not necessarily so for  another Cultural relativity is important Whether family, school, authorities, or peers are making them Unreliability o Two other points about cultural relativity are relevant Carrying cultural relativity notions to the extreme can place nearly 
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This note was uploaded on 11/16/2010 for the course PSYC 436 taught by Professor Dr.andrealeiman during the Fall '10 term at Maryland.

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5 - diagnosis and classification of psychological problems...

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